Evolving Telephone Policy: Universal Service

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Evolving Telephone Policy: Universal Service

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Title: Evolving Telephone Policy: Universal Service
Author: Behrens, Phyllis Irene
Abstract: Important public policy decisions are commonly made that depend upon short, medium, and long term time periods to achieve success or widespread adoption. Universal Service and telephone penetration among underserved residential consumer groups are useful cases for studying the rate of change for adopting public policies. Telephone subscribership and its related socio-economic elements are examined using the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-104, 110 Stat. 56) and the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. SS 151 et seq.). Theoretical foundations include the legislation, regulatory policy, and other telephone developments. Findings conclude that: (1) the diffusion of telephones, telephone services, and telephone-related public policies have greater similarity to the widespread adoption of electricity than to the adoption of radio, with which telephone-related diffusion is most often associated, (2) there is a pronounced split between residents' income and urban-rural factors, and, (3) rather than consumers benefiting from adoption of telephone innovations and a transition to economic competition from behavioral regulation, there is a noticeable slowness in accomplishing objectives of the Acts. Alternative approaches to constructing similar public policies are recommended.
Date: 2007-08-23
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