Telecommunication Policy For The Information Age / Edition 1

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Gerald Brock develops a new theory of decentralized public decisionmaking and uses it to clarify the dramatic changes that have transformed the telecommunication industry from a heavily regulated monopoly to a set of market-oriented firms. He demonstrates how the decentralized decisionmaking process--whose apparent element of chaos has so often invited criticism--has actually made the United States a world leader in reforming telecommunication policy.
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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Economic Literature

I am aware of no work that treats the history of telephone regulation in the United States with such care, at such length, or so evenhandedly. Further, the book is not merely history but economic history, in the sense that the economic incentives giving rise to the behavior described are carefully explored, as are the economic consequences of each policy development.
— Bruce M. Owen

Mark S. Fowler
A factually rich analysis of telecommunication policymaking, Brock's book is the first insider's look at how policymakers struggled to mesh together economic efficiency, politics, markets, and technology to reach their goals--which often conflicted. After reading this carefully researched work by an outstanding academic who actually wound up in the fray, you will wonder how it was all accomplished.
Journal of Economic Literature - Bruce M. Owen
I am aware of no work that treats the history of telephone regulation in the United States with such care, at such length, or so evenhandedly. Further, the book is not merely history but economic history, in the sense that the economic incentives giving rise to the behavior described are carefully explored, as are the economic consequences of each policy development.
Henry Geller
This is a clear, comprehensive, and brilliant analysis of the telecommunication policy process, since 1980, that has dealt with the transistion from monopoly to competition and is now reaching a climax in the pending Congressional legislation on the National Information Infrastructure.
Richard E. Caves
America's choices of policy toward telecommunication triggered a revolutionary reorganization and gain in this sector's efficiency, first in the United States, but prospectively worldwide. Brock's book carefully traces the decentralized policymaking process that brought this revolution about. It advances the existing literature in many ways, notably in a clear and comprehensive analysis of the role of network externalities.
Former Bureau Chief of the Federal Communications Commission Brock argues that the myriad agencies with overlapping responsibilities and authorities that now exist are exactly the structure that can set policy to help the telecommunications industry move from being heavily regulated to market-responsive during this period of rapid technological change. He develops a theory of decentralized decision making that reserves a unique and important role for the FCC, state regulatory agencies, the Department of Justice, Congress, and the federal courts. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674873261
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 338
  • Sales rank: 1,266,417
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerald W. Brock is Professor of Telecommunication and Director of the Graduate Telecommunication Program at George Washington University, and was previously Common Carrier Bureau Chief at the Federal Communications Commission.
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Table of Contents


Positive Results of the Decentralized Process

Potential Benefits of a Decentralized Policy Process

Plan of the Book

Perspectives on the Policy Process

Blackstone versus Bentham

Landis versus Stigler

Information Economics and Transaction Costs

Preferences and Principles

A Model of the Decentralized Policy Process

The Coordination of Decentralized Public Policy and of Scientific Research

The Structure of the Decentralized Policy Model

Examples of the Decentralized Policy Model

Institutions of Telecommunication Policy

The Communications Act of 1934

The Structure of the FCC

Non-FCC Policy Institutions

Economic Characteristics of the Telecommunication Industry

The Development of Telephone Monopoly

Regulation and the Sharing of Toll Revenue

The 1956 Consent Decree

Interconnection and the Network Externality


Competition in Terminal Equipment



Protective Connecting Arrangements

Opposition to Terminal Competition

Computer II and Detariffing

Initial Long Distance Competition

Bulk Private Service: "Above 890"

MCI Initial Application

Specialized Common Carrier Competition

Interconnection and Long Distance Competition

The Private Line Interconnection Controversy

AT&T's Rate Response to Private Line Competition

Execunet and Switched Services Competition

Interconnection Charges: ENFIA

Competition under the ENFIA Agreement


The Divestiture

The Consumer Communications Reform Act

The Antitrust Suit

The Reagan Administration'sPerspectives

The Divestiture Agreement

Implementing the Divestiture

Access Charges: A Confusing Ten Billion Dollar Game

The First Plan: Pre-Divestiture Agreement

The 1982 Access Plan

Separations Reform and High-Cost Subsidy

The Implementation of Access Charges

Congressional Influence on Access Charges

Initial Switched Access Charge

Managed Competition for Political Perceptions

Completion of the Access Charge Plan


The Dismantling of Structural Separation

The Third Computer Inquiry

The DOJ and the MFJ Information Services Restriction

Judge Greene and the Information Services Restriction

Competition in Local Service

Network Issues with Local Competition

Local Competition and Interconnection

Price Caps and Regulatory Boundaries
The First Plan: Bridge to Deregulation

The Revised Plan: Better Regulation

Political Issues in the AT&T Price Cap Plan

The LEC Price Cap Plan


The Evolution of Telecommunication Policy

Fact Perceptions Incorporated into Policy

Policy Goals



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