Testimony: Time to Deregulate Wireline Communications in Texas
For most of the 20th century the PUC’s have regulated the entry and exit, the transmission and distribution and the pricing of communications products and services in varying levels from pervasive to limited, but regulated they have. And, arguably for the first 80 to 90 years that regulatory authority was, to varied extents, justified. Those justifications no longer exists. The days of “transmitting messages over two way voice grade distribution systems” (that language actually still exists in some jurisdictions) is as antiquated as the slide rule.
Technology, competition and consumer choice have replaced those types of definitions. Worrying about a network bottleneck by a dominant carrier is a way to protect market share not to protect competitive balance and certainly not to protect the consumer. Bottlenecks are routinely gone over, under and around by advances in technology. The local exchange bottleneck over access has gone the way of the French Maginot Line. Digital signals and broadband routinely find ways to go around any bottleneck, real or perceived. No, more likely special interests from both sides seek regulatory relief in these areas in order to protect market share. The Texas Legislature needs to resist allowing that to continue. Government should not legislate market share.