We'll Trade You Hawaii And A Player To Be Named Later For Your Telecom Regulator And Daisuke Matsuzaka
from the please? dept
The difference is in how regulators in the two countries introduced competition into the marketplace, and how they continue to ensure it stays competitive. The Telecom Act of 1996 in the US forced incumbent telcos to lease their lines to new competitors at fixed rates, though, of course, the telcos did their best to resist, and even if they did get caught breaking the law, the penalties were hardly enough to discourage them from doing it again. Of course, most competitive carriers were already out of business (for plenty of reasons, not just shady incumbent practices), but the Supreme Court in 2005 basically killed line sharing and dealt a blow to what little competition it had engendered. Contrast this to Japan, where in 2000 regulators forced NTT to unbundle its local loop, didn't let it drag its feet and stymie competitive carriers, and didn't let NTT get the law chiseled away by lobby groups and lawyers. Because of this, they don't have to act like concessions that do nothing to raise the overall level of competition are major milestones. In short, Japanese regulators developed an effective policy and ensured it was enforced, resulting in a flourishing, competitive environment. That's quite a change from the apparently telco-friendly mantra of the FCC, whose meddling only seems to ever result in higher prices and less competition. The problem in the US isn't necessarily things like the AT&T-BellSouth merger and the need for the merged company to let people buy naked DSL; the problem is that the entire marketplace is, at its heart, uncompetitive -- and that's the fault, and the responsibility, of the FCC.