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Proceedings Paper

The Unilateral, Self-Deregulation of AT&T
Author(s): Joel H. Maloff
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Paper Abstract

The provision of telecommunications products and services in the United States has been dominated by AT&T and the Bell System for more than one hundred years. From the early days of telephones, it was clear that some framework of logic was required to provide "universal" telephone services to the vast majority of American citizens. The concept was known as "natural monopoly", and for the most part, has served us well. We are all aware of statements concerning absolute power corrupting absolutely, and AT&T has not been immune to this law of human nature. Several times during the past century, action has been required by the Federal Government to regulate and constrain AT&T and the Bell System from anti-competitive and predatory actions. These have been called consent decrees, Computer Inquiry II, Computer Inquiry III, and the Modified Final Judgment. The regulations and constraints imposed upon AT&T, with good reason, are now becoming eroded. The perception of a more highly competitive marketplace capable of accommodating an unrestrained AT&T, the impact of uncoordinated national and regional government policies, and unilateral actions by AT&T themselves are bringing us to the edge of an abyss. There are substantial reasons to believe that AT&T will use its considerable might to eliminate its competitors, once free to do so. Must we be doomed to repeat history with still another antitrust case against AT&T some years from now? Logic demands that we learn from the past, and that telecommunications policies be based upon that knowledge.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 January 1990
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 1179, Fiber Networking and Telecommunications, (15 January 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.963436
Show Author Affiliations
Joel H. Maloff, CICNet, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1179:
Fiber Networking and Telecommunications
Joseph Garodnick; Lynn D. Hutcheson; David A. Kahn, Editor(s)

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