The telecommunications sector is dynamic. Markets and technologies continue to evolve rapidly, but communications policy has not kept pace. The policymaking landscape is encumbered not just with outdated rules and regulations, but also with the same outdated thinking that produced those policies in the first place.

The traditional premises for regulation-a lack of competition and a perceived need to ensure universal service-are vanishing, if not already gone. Telecommunications can be accessed across the nation, and the market for communications services has grown increasingly competitive with each passing year. Placing all telecommunications providers on the same, deregulated playing field should be at the heart of telecommunications policy.

More on Telecom Regulation

Cato Studies

Challenging the Social Media Moral Panic: Preserving Free Expression under Hypertransparency

By Milton Mueller. Policy Analysis No. 876. July 23, 2019.

Fairness 2.0: Media Content Regulation in the 21st Century

By Robert Corn-Revere. Policy Analysis No. 651. November 10, 2009.

The Lesson of the XM/Sirius Merger

By Jim Harper. TechKnowledge No. 119. August 15, 2008.


Transcript: Five Train Wrecks of Information Disclosure Policy

Walter Olson. Vermont Law Review. Vol. 38. No. 4. Summer 2014.

The Cyberskeptics

John Mueller and Benjamin H. Friedman. January 3, 2013.

A Modest Proposal on ‘Must-Carry,’ the 1992 Cable Act, and Regulation Generally: Go Back to the Basics

Roger Pilon. Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal. Vol. 17. No. 41. 1994.

Public Filings

Artificial Intelligence and Counterterrorism: Possibilities and Limitations

By Julian Sanchez. Testimony. June 25, 2019.

Graham v. United States

By Jim Harper and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. November 3, 2016.

Carpenter v. United States

By Jim Harper and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. October 28, 2016.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Custodians of the Internet by Tarleton Gillespie

Will Duffield. Cato Journal. Winter 2019.

Seeking Intervention Backfired on Silicon Valley

Drew Clark. Policy Report. November/December 2018.

The Untold History of FCC Regulation

Policy Report. May/June 2018.


The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet

Featuring David G. Post and John Samples. April 17, 2019. Book Forum.

The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone

Featuring Thomas W. Hazlett and Ajit Pai. March 15, 2018. Book Forum.

Transparency Time: Wikipedia-Editing for Congress

Featuring Jim Harper. August 18, 2014. Capitol Hill Briefing.