Now, I've been calling for regulations in the communications field since President Richard Nixon invented them for television during his term in office, 1969-74. My regulations, though, are always for the good of all the communications industries and have always involved technological advances. To me, deregulation meant artificially slowing down the process of innovation. The fable that a company knows best because it's guided by market forces is either for naives or lobbyists. We know that, without specific guidelines, companies will cannibalize innovation by developing competing standards that confuse consumers, slow down market acceptance, create obsolescence and generate losses.
In this case, however, financial losses associated with a product are viewed as marketing ploys by a dominant conglom to drive competition out, not due to the competition's inferior product, but, rather, because of unsustainable losses.
This brings me to a Los Angeles Times editorial in which the paper attempts to make the case for regulating Internet phones out of the market ("Bad Call on Internet Phone" August 7, 2004).
According to the Times, voice communication over the Internet is a tsunami and "Congress and state legislatures face pressure to regulate what they don't understand, and their proposals are a muddle."
The paper went on to say that "The Internet can carry phone conversations at a fraction of the cost of traditional systems.... The technology has existed for years, but the spread of high-speed computing led to improvements in voice quality comparable to land lines."
Then, the piece de resistance: "It is only because of regulation that we have 911 emergency [national telephone number] services, the TTY [text telephone terminal] machines that allow deaf and hard-of-hearing people to use the telephone, and low-cost lifeline services that guarantee access in rural areas and to low-income households. All these are paid for by required fees and taxes.