Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Technology and competition are pushing a trend of convergence in the separate communications industries. In particular, telephone and cable companies are rapidly developing or acquiring the capacity to compete in each other's businesses. The evolution of this trend will be a larger unified marketplace where companies compete broadly in many forms of communications or data transfer. Companies in the data transfer industry will need to be able to make the most efficient use of their infrastructure to provide an array of services to the consumer.

Convergence has strained the fabric of existing communications law in the United States, and it is apparent that a new approach needs to be implemented. Among the issues that need to be addressed in developing a new approach are competition, control, access, and universal service. The various barriers to market entry by cable and telephone companies must be eliminated. Further, the law needs to be flexible enough to adapt to rapid technological change and marketplace conditions as well as provide symmetry in its application to competitors.

Passage of a single act that provides for open competition on a technology- neutral basis will successfully update the nation's communications law, providing the basis for the continued growth of the data transfer industry and ultimately better communications services for the consumer.