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Telecommunications Regulation

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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

Traditionally, the telecommunication industry around the world has been regulated by governments and international organizations. More recently, telecom regulations are being liberalized and even removed to promote healthy competition. In the deregulated environment, many new competitive carriers have appeared. Many new and unique services are being offered, and bandwidth is exploding as new service providers scramble to install fiber or wireless access systems in metro areas.

Customers no longer need to lease private line TDM-based circuits to build metropolitan and wide area networks. Many new options are available, including metro-Ethernet access networks. In addition, a new packet-oriented public network is emerging that converges the best features of the PSTN and the Internet. See "NPN (New Public Network)."

With all these benefits, why was the industry regulated in the first place? In the United States, regulation began in 1866 with the signing of the Post Roads Act, which gave the U.S. Postmaster General control over the telegraph industry. Today, in the United States, the interstate telecommunication industry is regulated by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), which was formed with the Communications Act of 1934. Individual state PUCs (public utility commissions) regulate communications within their jurisdictions. The FCC also regulates the use of wireless radio frequencies through a system of spectrum allocation and licensing.

This topic continues in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications."

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