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Emerging Telecommunications Networks

The International Handbook of Telecommunications Economics, Volume II

Edited by Gary Madden

This major reference work provides a thorough and up-to-date survey and analysis of recent developments in the economics of telecommunications. The Handbook serves both as a source of reference and technical supplement for the field of telecommunications economics.
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Chapter 6: Regulation for Internet-mediated communication and commerce

Robert M. Frieden


Robert M. Frieden INTRODUCTION This chapter will address the problems and opportunities presented by proliferating and diversifying services provided via the Internet. After reviewing the different types of Internet-mediated services and the pre-existing regulatory models that apply, the chapter will address whether and how a single legal and regulatory foundation exists for addressing the manifold public policy issues raised by Internet-delivered communications and electronic commerce. The chapter concludes with suggestions on what governments should undertake to promote widespread and robust use of telecommunication and information processing infrastructure as conduits for services that promote education, rural development and commerce. A MULTI-FACETED INTERNET The Internet means different things to different people. On a technological level it constitutes a ‘network of networks’ in the sense that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) link their individual networks into an integrated network of networks. ISPs provide consumers with seamless access to most of the individual networks that comprise what we call the Internet, often with a contract covering only the first or last of many network connections. The packet-switched nature of the Internet coupled with switching and routing protocols, provides robust and diverse network access without each ISP having to negotiate interconnection terms with every other operator. Telecommunications carriers achieve similar connectivity with greater effort and specificity through the one-by-one accumulation of operating agreements. Internet users benefit from the technological ease in switching and routing traffic, but such seamlessness generates a host of legal and regulatory problems. For example, the...

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