The American Enterprise, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 70-75, March/April 1992
5 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2007 Last revised: 2 Nov 2009
During the first three years of the Bush Administration, the most consequential action in telecommunications regulation did not occur in Congress, at the Federal Communications Commission, or at the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department. Federal judge have made most of the important decisions. Since 1989, the courts have significantly deregulated telephones, while they have significantly reregulated broadcasting.
Surely the most significant act of telecommunications deregulation during the Bush presidency occurred in July 1991 when Judge Harold Greene lifted the restrictions preventing the seven regional Bell operating companies from offering information services to their customers. Lifting these restrictions will permit telephone companies to offer yellow-page listings on computer screens, home security systems, voice-recognition systems for the hearing-impaired, news reports over the phone, voice messages on fax machines, electronic publishing, and interactive video.
Judge Greenewhom many have called a one-man regulatory agencyhas fashioned most of the rules affecting the telephone industry pursuant to the consent decree between the Justice Department and the companies that make up the former Bell system. While Judge Greene's decision provides reason for optimism that the pace of deregulation in this area will continue, the trend in other areas of telecommunications is not so promising.
Keywords: Regulation, Telecommunications, Harold Greene
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