All in the Public Interest: Part 3 – Telecom

We have all heard it all before — politicians are looking out for the “little guy.”   However, once these pro-consumer policies are enacted, they sometimes have adverse consequences on consumers and reduce consumer welfare.  In fact, they often have a disproportionate and negative impact on lower income consumers.  Our earlier articles provided examples of these […]

ACI in the Daily Caller: When Regulators Won’t Deregulate

The 1996 Telecommunications Act (the “Act”) promised deregulation.  As the conference report then stated, the Act was to “provide for a pro-competitive, de-regulatory national policy framework designed to accelerate rapidly private sector deployment of advanced telecommunications and information technologies and services to all Americans by opening all telecommunications markets to competition, and for other purposes.” […]

Universal Service Fund Not Designed to Help Consumers: New report shows it is not always clear who benefits from funding

WASHINGTON– While the Universal Service Fund (USF) was originally developed to provide all Americans with ubiquitous access to telephone services at reasonable prices, there have been questions about the extent to which this funding actually helps consumers. According to a new report authored by Steve Pociask, the president of the American Consumer Institute Center for […]

Why Re-Regulating Special Access Is Not So Special For Consumers

Before the Divestiture of AT&T and the decade to follow, special access services, a copper-based dedicated telecommunications technology, were being used by large businesses, telecommunications companies, PBX operators and government agencies to bypass the telephone company’s publicly-switched network.  As competition for special access services exploded in the 1980’s, the FCC moved special access from a […]

Ohioans Poised to Catch Up and Move Ahead

In 1982, a federal court split up the old Bell System to help MCI and Sprint compete.  The breakup was followed by three decades of harsh regulations at the federal and state levels that carved away incumbent local exchange carriers’ (ILECs) competitive advantages against Cable TV Telephony rivals or Competing Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs).  Today […]

Will Phone Regulations Outlive the Wireline Telephone?

To pay for the Spanish-American War, the United States imposed a tax on telephone services. The idea was to raise revenue for the war, but the tax stayed in existence for 108 years until most of it was killed — not by legislation — but by the circuit courts of appeal.  The tale is a […]

Universal Service Funding in Need of Serious Reforms

In the past, we’ve detailed the many problems and issues with the Universal Service Fund.  For those unaware, the Universal Service Fund (USF) applies a tax to the phone bill of every customer in the US who utilizes interstate telephone services. This means just about everyone pays into it.  This tax, generating roughly $8 billion […]

Corporate Subsidies Are Not in Tennesseans’ Best Interest: The Case of Telephone Access Charges

In the realm of public policy, the most egregious form of tax comes from the imposition of hidden fees.  For telecommunications services, the prime example of this are what are referred to as access charges.  Access charges were once designed for telephone companies to recoup network costs by placing extra fees on long distance calls.  […]

ACI’s Reply to the FCC NOI on a National Broadband Plan for Our Future

Before the Federal Communications Commission Washington, DC 20554 In the Matter of A National Broadband Plan for Our Future GN Docket No. 09-51 REPLY COMMENTS OF THE AMERICAN CONSUMER INSTITUTE The American Consumer Institute (“Institute”) hereby submits its reply to comments responding to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) in the above-captioned […]