Technology & Telecom

WPC's Technology & Telecom Project focuses on wireless regulations, access to broadband internet, wireline regulatory environment, open source issues, telecom regulations, video franchise reform, technology and privacy issues, and more.

Publications

Leaving Well Enough Alone: State Wireless Regulations Could Harm Consumers

December 9, 2007 in Publications

Of all the technological inventions over the last two centuries, none seems to have penetrated American households as profoundly as the wireless telephone. It took more than 90 years for landline service to reach 100 million consumers. It took over 21 years for 100 million consumers to buy a color television. But in less than 17 years wireless phones had reached 100 million consumers.

It's Time to Modernize Our State's Ma-Bell Era Telecom Laws

February 16, 2007 in Publications

One of the basic tenets of government since the early 20th century, both nationally and locally, has been to protect. Protect consumers, employees, employers, and many more stratifications. Sometimes protection was warranted; and other times government regulators made mountains out of molehills.

Reform Video Franchises for Cheaper, More Competitive TV Services

January 8, 2007 in Publications

Video franchises are the revenue sharing agreements that cable TV companies sign with local governments in return for the exclusive right to sell video services to customers. Because local and municipal governments own so much of the cable TV and telephone infrastructure, TV and telephone companies entered into franchise agreements with those local governments for the right to use those lines. The TV/Telephone company would give a portion of their profits to the government for the “exclusive” usage rights.

Better Prices and Better Services for More People

January 8, 2007 in Publications

Franchise reform, the movement to replace local regulatory regimes that govern legacy cable monopolies with statewide franchise agreements that encourage competition and improved service, has taken on new urgency. Encouraged by telephone companies eager to provide an array of new broadband video services to anxious customers, ten states—Texas, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, California and Michigan—have enacted bipartisan statewide franchise reform since 2005.

Bring the Competition Revolution to Cable T.V.

April 17, 2006 in Publications

Washington Policy Center consistently promotes a simple principle - competition is good for consumers. In our free economy competition is what drives excellence, innovation and, more importantly, low prices, meaning a better life for all the citizens of our state. Nothing is more motivating to business people than the daily knowledge that their customers will walk the minute they are not satisfied with either the price or the quality of the service being offered. That is why it is so important for government officials not only to refrain from blocking consumers' voluntary choices, but to actively promote competition when advances in technology make new options available.

"E-Waste" Mandates Should Be Trashed

March 18, 2005 in Publications

Haste maketh waste in the fast-paced world of technology. Every year, Americans trash two million tons of old computers and other forms of electronic waste. While that’s a tiny fraction of the nation's total waste stream, the issue of what to do with all the "e-waste" is creating hype and hysteria among state and federal lawmakers.

A New Way to Make a Phone Call

May 18, 2004 in Publications

We live in a world where leaps in technology happen on a regular basis. The latest jump is new technology that lets telephone users make calls over the internet. Called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), the new service will allow a person to talk to anyone in the world for a fraction of the cost of a traditional long distance call.

Why We Can't Shop for Local Phone Service

May 18, 2002 in Publications

Your local phone company may soon be trying to sell you long-distance service. Across the country the regional Bells are eagerly petitioning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to be allowed into the lucrative long-distance telephone market. In return, they are supposed to give up monopoly control in their own markets and let their customers shop for local phone service.

When Government Enters the Telecommunications Market: An Assessment of Tacoma's Click! Network

June 8, 2001 in Publications

Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) was founded more than a century ago as Tacoma City Light and was granted monopoly status and the charter to “meet community needs for electricity.” More recently the utility has expanded its mission. In 1997 TPU embarked on an ambitious experiment to build a publicly-funded telecommunications system called the Click! Network. The system was intended to provide high-speed access for cable television, data transmission and Internet services for TPU customers.

When Government Enters the Telecommunications Market: An Assessment of Tacoma’s Click! Network

June 6, 2001 in Publications

In 1997 Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) embarked on an ambitious experiment to build a publicly-funded telecommunications system called the Click! Network. The system was intended to provide high-speed access for cable television, data transmission and Internet services for TPU customers.