Monday, March 21, 2005

Former FCC Chair Hundt Proposes Regulatory Overhaul

Reed E. Hundt, who served as FCC Chairman from 1993 to 1997, and Gregory L. Rosston, deputy director of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) and former deputy chief economist of the FCC, published a paper online urging Congress and the Bush Administration to undertake a complete overhaul of the law and policy for communications, and to do so by mid-2005.

Key points of the proposal include:

  • A neutral tax policy that does not distort consumer choice or

  • Availability of public property as an input to service at cost.

  • Increased availability of spectrum and commitments to future releases of spectrum

  • A decision about maintaining or disbanding unbundling

  • Application of Title 2 regulation and forbearance unless competitive problems arise

  • Wholesale revamping of universal service programs

  • Clear division of federal, state and local jurisdictions

  • Federal regulatory authorities should set interconnection and openness policies, should deregulate retail pricing, and should assure pro-competitive market structures.

  • Local jurisdictions should assure that rights of way and other public property rights are available to all service providers, consistent with a general federal mandate.

  • The Trinko decision notwithstanding, Congress should make it clear that the telecommunications Act and other subsequent legislation does not give a free pass to companies that violate the laws that protect consumers from anticompetitive practices.


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