Vanderbilt Law Review


Eli M. Noam

First Page



During the past decade, federal telecommunications regulatory policy has changed its focus from a goal of universally available and affordable residential service to one of economic efficiency. In changing its regulatory focus, the federal government has indirectly deprived the states of the means to accomplish their goal, which remains one of insuring universally available and affordable residential service. In his Article Professor Noam examines the evolution of the traditional federal-state coregulatory system, contrasts the emerging federal regulatory approach with the states' policies, and discusses the reasons for federal predominance in telecommunications regulation.He argues that the reorientation in federal regulatory policy is creating administrative problems for state regulators and will impair their ability to attain universally available and affordable residential service. Professor Noam predicts that if the states abandon their policy goals in favor of the federal goals, they actually will weaken federally inspired entry into the telecommunications industry and thus hamper the federal government's ability to realize its goal. He concludes that the current coregulatory system is probably not stable and that a new intergovernmental consensus is necessary to replace the present federal dominance.