Pub. Date:
MIT Press
Digital Crossroads: Telecommunications Law and Policy in the Internet Age / Edition 2

Digital Crossroads: Telecommunications Law and Policy in the Internet Age / Edition 2

by Jonathan E. Nuechterlein, Philip J. Weiser
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A thoroughly updated, comprehensive, and accessible guide to U. S. telecommunications law and policy, covering recent developments including mobile broadband issues, spectrum policy, and net neutrality.

In Digital Crossroads , two experts on telecommunications policy offer a comprehensive and accessible analysis of the regulation of competition in the U. S. telecommunications industry. The first edition of Digital Crossroads (MIT Press, 2005) became an essential and uniquely readable guide for policymakers, lawyers, scholars, and students in a fast-moving and complex policy field. In this second edition, the authors have revised every section of every chapter to reflect the evolution in industry structure, technology, and regulatory strategy since 2005.

The book features entirely new discussions of such topics as the explosive development of the mobile broadband ecosystem; incentive auctions and other recent spectrum policy initiatives; the FCC's net neutrality rules; the National Broadband Plan; the declining relevance of the traditional public switched telephone network; and the policy response to online video services and their potential to transform the way Americans watch television. Like its predecessor, this new edition of Digital Crossroads not only helps nonspecialists climb this field's formidable learning curve, but also makes substantive contributions to ongoing policy debates.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262519601
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 07/05/2013
Series: The MIT Press
Edition description: second edition
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 1,096,202
Product dimensions: 8.90(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jonathan E. Nuechterlein is a Washington, D. C. -based attorney with broad experience in government and the private sector. He is currently a partner and co-leader of the telecommunications practice as the international law firm of Sidley Austin.  He has previously served as General Counsel of the Federal Trade Commission; as Deputy General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, and as Assistant to the Solicitor General at the U. S. Department of Justice.

Philip J. Weiser is Hatfield Professor of Law and Founder Executive Director of the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Preface to the Second Edition xv

Preface to the First Edition xvii

1 The Big Picture 1

I Economic Principles 3

A Network effects and interconnection 3

B Economies of scale and density 8

C Information platforms, monopoly leveraging, and net neutrality 14

II Technological Convergence and Statutory Obsolescence 17

2 Competition Policy in Wireline Telecommunications 23

I A Primer on Wireline Technology 23

A Transmission pipes: loops and transport 25

B Switches 28

Circuit switching 28

Packet switching 30

II Traditional Telephone Rate Regulation 32

A The basics of price regulation 32

The regulatory compact, rate-of-return regulation, and price caps 33

Dual jurisdiction and access charges 35

Tariffs 37

B Introduction to universal service policies 38

III Wireline Competition Policy Before 1996 40

A Telecommunications equipment manufacturing 42

B Long-distance competition and the AT&T consent decree 44

C The rise of competitive access providers 48

D The first steps toward local exchange competition 50

IV Wireline Competition Under the 1996 Act 51

A The 1996 Act's main objectives 51

B The nuts and bolts of the 1996 Act 54

A taxonomy of carriers and services 54

Interconnection and collocation rights 57

Network elements and leasing rights 58

Procedures for implementing the local competition provisions 60

C The rise and fall of UNE-P 62

The stakes of UNE-P 62

The FCC, the "impairment" standard, and the courts 63

The collapse of the consumer long-distance carriers 66

D Wireline broadband facilities and the 1996 Act 68

Line sharing 69

Next generation networks 71

V The Twilight of Monopoly-Era Regulation 74

A Forbearance from monopoly-era regulation in the mass market 75

B The partial deregulation of special-access services 76

3 The Spectrum 83

I Overview 85

II The Nuts and Bolts of Spectrum Allocation and Assignment 89

A Allocation 90

B Assignment: from comparative hearings to auctions 92

III Liberating the Airwaves 96

A Beyond command and control 96

B Reclaiming spectrum for mobile broadband 99

Reclaiming government-held spectrum and options for spectrum sharing 100

Reclaiming spectrum from broadcasters 102

C Controversy in the transition 106

The 2004 Nextel spectrum-relocation controversy 107

Mobile satellite service controversies: Light Squared and DISH 108

Avoiding the sunk cost fallacy in the assignment of spectrum rights 111

D Commons: Einstein's cat in the age of the mouse 112

IV The Future of Interference Policy 117

4 Mobile Wireless Services 127

I The Basics of Cellular Technology 128

II The Regulatory Landscape 133

A A brief history of mobile wireless regulation 133

B The general deregulation of wireless telephony 137

III Competition Policy for the Wireless Broadband Ecosystem 142

A Roaming 144

B Interoperability 146

C Number portability 152

D Market concentration and the AT&T/T-Mobile merger controversy 154

5 A Primer on Internet Technology 159

I The Basics 159

A From analog to digital 159

B Modularity and layering 162

C The logic of the Internet 165

D Killer apps: email and the Web 170

E VoIP 173

II The Internet's Physical Infrastructure 175

A Beginnings 175

B The Internet's Constituent IP Networks 178

Access networks/ISPs 178

Backbone networks and the basics of peering and transit 180

CDNs and the disintermediation of Internet backbone networks 184

6 Net Neutrality and the Regulation of Broadband Internet Access 187

I The Historical Origins of the Net Neutrality Movement 188

A The Computer Inquiries 188

B The "open-access" debate 192

II The Net Neutrality Debate 196

A The anti-blocking rule and "reasonable network management" 198

The Madison River and Comcast-BitTorrent controversies 198

The Open Internet Order and the differential treatment of fixed and mobile broadband platforms 200

The concept of "reasonable network management" 201

"Application agnosticism" and usage-sensitive pricing 203

B Restrictions on favored treatment of particular content 205

Background 205

The FCC's "nondiscrimination" rule 209

The "specialized services" exception, IP video, and data tiers 211

Nondiscrimination and paid peering 214

C The economic elements of the net neutrality debate 216

Framing the debate 217

Market power and residential broadband competition 220

Vertical integration and the ICE principle 221

Concerns about "manufactured scarcity" 224

Weighing the costs and benefits of intervention 226

III Title I, Title II, and the Limits of FCC Power 230

A Overview of Title I and the FCC's "ancillary authority" 230

B The Comcast decision and the "third way" proposal 235

C Denouement and litigation 238

7 Interconnection and Intercarrier Compensation 243

I The Historical Crazy Quilt of Intercarrier Compensation Schemes 244

A Introduction to PSTN interconnection rules and intercarrier compensation 244

B Access charge arbitrage scandals-and their origin in regulatory artificiality 248

C The ISP reciprocal compensation controversy 252

D Intercarrier compensation and VoIP 255

E Tariffs, CLEC access charges, and "traffic pumping" 257

F Intercarrier compensation for mobile and tandem transit providers 260

II The Rise of Bill-and-Keep as the Cornerstone of Intercarrier Compensation Reform 263

A The economic challenges of a calling-network-pays regime 265

B The bill-and-keep alternative 268

III The USF-ICC Reform Order and the 1996 Act 274

A Overview of the Order 274

B Legal rationales and litigation 275

The FCC's disputed jurisdiction 275

The disputed legal basis for bill-and-keep 277

IV After the PSTN Sunset: Interconnection Policy in an All-IP World 279

A VoIP-to-VoIP interconnection 280

Telephone numbers in an all-IP world 281

Indirect interconnection and QoS 284

B Paid-peering disputes involving "eyeball" ISPs and CDNs 287

C Concerns about Internet fragmentation 290

8 Universal Service in the Age of Broadband 295

I Introduction to the Political Dynamics of Universal Service 297

II Federal USF Disbursement Mechanisms 301

A The nuts and bolts of the High Cost Fund (circa 2011) 301

B Wireless ETCs and the rise and fall of the identical-support rule 304

C The Connect America Fund 307

III Federal USF Contribution Mechanisms 314

A The traditional revenue-based assessment regime 315

B Prospects for contribution reform 321

9 Competition in the Delivery of Video Programming 327

I The Basics of the Video-Distribution Marketplace 329

A Introduction to video programmers and distributors 329

B Cable rate deregulation and the "a la carte" debate 333

II Regulation of Relationships among Video-Distribution Platforms 335

A Compulsory copyright licenses and retransmission consent 335

B Must carry 339

C Satellite retransmission of broadcast signals 340

D The program-access rules 343

E Online video distributors 347

OVDs, copyright, and the definition of "MVPDs" 347

OVDs and the Comcast-NBC "Universal merger conditions 349

III Efforts to Protect Programming Competition and Diversity through Vertical Regulation of Broadcast Networks and MVPDs 352

A Vertical integration concerns and-the finsyn case study 352

B Cable operators, horizontal ownership restrictions, and the program-carriage rules 355

Cable ownership restrictions 355

The program-carriage rules 358

IV Restrictions on Ownership of Television Broadcast Stations 359

10 The Future of Telecommunications Competition Policy 365

I First Principles of Institutional Reform 367

II Judging Congress 369

III The Antitrust Alternative 371

IV The FCC in Transition 376

A Expertise 376

B Determinacy 377

Relations with reviewing courts 378

Relations with the states 379

Relations with coordinate merger-review authorities 380

C Transparency 383

D Neutrality 385

E Humility 386

Notes 389

Index 489

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