Digital Crossroads

Digital Crossroads

American Telecommunications Policy in the Internet Age

By Jonathan E. Nuechterlein and Philip J. Weiser





Telecommunications policy profoundly affects the economy and our everyday lives. Yet accounts of important telecommunications issues tend to be either superficial (and inaccurate) or mired in jargon and technical esoterica. In Digital Crossroads, Jonathan Nuechterlein and Philip Weiser offer a clear, balanced, and accessible analysis of competition policy issues in the telecommunications industry. After giving a big picture overview of the field, they present sharply reasoned analyses of the major technological, economic, and legal developments confronting communications policymakers in the twenty-first century.

Since the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, when Congress fundamentally reoriented the existing regulatory scheme, no book has cogently explained the intricacies of telecommunications competition policy in the Internet age for general readers, students, and practitioners alike. Digital Crossroads meets this need, focusing on the regulatory dimensions of competition in wireline and wireless telephone service; competition among rival platforms for broadband Internet service and video distribution; and the Internet's transformation of every aspect of the telecommunications industry, particularly through the emergence of "voice over Internet protocol" (VoIP). The authors explain not just the complicated legal issues governing the industry, but also the rapidly changing technological and economic context in which these issues arise. The book includes extensive endnotes and tables that cover relevant court decisions, FCC orders, and academic commentaries; a glossary of acronyms; a statutory addendum containing the most important provisions of federal telecommunications law; and two appendixes with information on more specialized topics. Supplementary materials for students are available at


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262140911 702 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262640664 702 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • A magnificent achievement. As someone who has been involved over the last four decades in what was once known as the 'telephone' business, I found Digital Crossroads an extraordinarily lucid description and explanation of the revolutionary significance of its transformation into 'telecommunications.' Digital Crossroads is not exactly light bedtime reading, but for anyone attempting to grasp these changes in our digital age, it is full of clear explanations and fair-minded assessments of the continuing regulatory issues they raise. This is a marvelous book, and well worth working through from cover to cover, as I have done.

    Alfred E. Kahn

    Former Chairman of the New York Public Service Commission and Civil Aeronautics Board, and Advisor to President Carter on Inflation

  • Digital Crossroads brings fresh clarity to a complex subject. It is thorough, comprehensive, and insightful, and will prove invaluable to anyone trying to navigate the tumultuous changes of the digital age.

    The Honorable Michael K. Powell

  • Digital Crossroads is an essential read for anyone interested in the history-making changes occurring in communications, an industry at the heart of the American economy. It lucidly explains how and why public policy must change to accommodate the Internet"s revolutionary impact on the way people communicate. This book is a long-overdue voice of insight and reason in a field too often marked by simplistic, self-serving rhetoric.

    Jim Crowe

    CEO, Level 3 Communications, Inc.