Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

58 Federal Communications Law Journal 37 (2006)


Federal regulation of telecommunication profoundly affects United States consumers, determining what services are priced above and below cost, what kinds of technologies and services are offered and when, and what firms are allowed to compete. In this Article, the Author surveys the voluminous literature on the economic costs and outcomes of these regulations, focusing predominantly on the effects of regulation on prices, quantity, quality of service, and overall consumer and social welfare. The Author estimates costs and assesses outcomes for ten types of federal telecommunications regulated activity: telecommunications regulatory spending, long-distance access charges, universal service funding, local number portability, enhanced 911, miscellaneous wireless mandates, spectrum management, satellite regulation, unbundled network elements, and resale of the incumbent's services. The Article highlights particularly inefficient and costly regulations while also drawing attention to regulations that have a significant positive outcome for consumers. The Author concludes with an overall estimate of the cost of federal telecommunications regulation to United States consumers.