Anticipating Regulation of New Telecommunications Technologies: An Argument for the European Model

Finley, Jessica | January 1, 2006

This paper argues that the United States should look to the European Community in order to rework its telecommunications regulatory structure. More specifically, the United States should reconsider its current system of regulating various telecommunications sectors separately and follow the European Commission by developing a “single regulatory framework.” By regulating the telecommunications transmission separately from telecommunications content, the United States can better anticipate emerging technologies rather than struggling to catch up with new technologies as they exceed the reach of the current regulatory framework. Part II will discuss the U.S. and European telecommunications regulatory frameworks. Part III will discuss the advantages of a switch to a more consolidated framework. The FCC’s goals of promoting the public interest, creating convenience, and the necessity for telecommunications access and regulation are similar to the broad goals of the European Community Objectives. By following Europe’s lead by first, regulating content and transmission separately, and second, regulating “electronic communications” rather than specific, existing technologies, the FCC will be more able to adjust to new technologies, address overlap of existing technologies, and answer questions about market forces and consumer access in the increased bundling of various telecommunications services.