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 http://spot.colorado.edu/~weiserpj.
About the Authors
Jonathan E. Nuechterlein is a Washington, D.C.-based attorney with broad experience in government and the private sector. He is currently General Counsel of the Federal Trade Commission; before that, he served as chair of the telecommunications practice at the international law firm of WilmerHale, as Deputy General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission, and as Assistant to the Solicitor General.
Philip J. Weiser is Dean of the Law School, Thompson Professor of Law and Telecommunications, and Founder and Executive Director of the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado Boulder. From 2009 to 2010, he was Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and from 2010 to 2011, he was a Senior Adviser on Technology and Innovation at the National Economic Council in the White House under President Obama.
"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
"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.' The new proliferation of services that are available from an array of vendors shoots all sorts of holes in a system of government regulation designed both to protect captive consumers from local telephone franchisees and to force those one-time monopolists to share facilities with their rivals in order to stimulate local competition. 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
"An amazingly good book, written by two lawyers who really know what is (and was) going on. Everything in this extremely complex industry is covered, thoroughly and lucidly. This book makes the murky subject of telecommunications as the base technology for the Internet crystal clear, and the authors get it right."
—Gerald R. Faulhaber, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and former Chief Economist, Federal Communications Commission
"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.
"Jon Nuechterlein and Phil Weiser have written *the* book on domestic telecommunications policy. First, this timely book is very readable from the perspective of any interested layperson trying to understand today's intense and often complex debates on crucial issues in the field. At the same time, the authors' comprehensive and studious analysis—not only of the legal aspects of the issues, but also of the technological, business, and economic developments surrounding those issues—makes the book indispensable for serious scholars and professionals involved in telecommunications policymaking."
—Dale Hatfield, former Chief Technologist and former Chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology, Federal Communications Commission