the goal of universal service

In 1913 in its magazine Western Electric News, AT&T associated “universal service” with national political identity.  Universal service meant one policy, one system.  That system was AT&T, the Bell System. By 1913, the U.S. had become a world leader in the prevalence of telephones.   Small, non-AT&T telephone companies developed rural telephone service relatively rapidly.   Universal … Continue reading the goal of universal service

leaders in the early spread of telephone service

About 1893, the country leading the world in telephones per 100 persons (teledensity) was Sweden.  Telephone service in Sweden developed through a variety of institutional forms: the International Bell Telephone Company (a U.S. multinational), town and village co-operatives, the General Telephone Company of Stockholm (a Swedish private company), and the Swedish Telegraph Department (part of … Continue reading leaders in the early spread of telephone service

subsidizing high-cost telephone lines stimulates growth

From its beginnings, the U.S. telephone industry has included many small telephone companies.   Over time government programs have been established to subsidize small, high-cost telephone companies.[1]   Under the High-Cost Loop Support program, about $1 billion in subsidies were given in 2007 to incumbent local-exchange telephone companies (ILECs) that had relatively high-cost loops.[2]  The subsidy to … Continue reading subsidizing high-cost telephone lines stimulates growth

the U.S. telephone industry has developed like agriculture

While everyone appreciates the importance of family farms, few realize that the U.S. has a lot of small local telephone companies.  A specific count of companies depends on distinctions among legal entities, operating companies, and holding companies; incumbent local-exchange companies (ILECs) and competitive local-exchange companies (CLECs), both of which can be part of one holding … Continue reading the U.S. telephone industry has developed like agriculture

supporting family farms is easy

Here’s an important aspect of U.S. communications policy: The high-cost support mechanisms enable areas with very high costs to recover some of these costs from the federal universal service fund, leaving a smaller remainder of the costs to be recovered through end-user rates or state universal service support mechanisms….The high-cost support mechanisms include embedded high-cost … Continue reading supporting family farms is easy