CIS Communication Policy & Planning Exam
(Dr. Wedemeyer, Dr. Knuth, Dr. Tehranian)

Jump To:  Main Theories    Policy Themes    History of Telecommunications    The Gordian Knot    Marxism & Mass Media    Brock's Intro to Policy    Emery Roe's Policy 3 Problems    Stone's Intro to Policy    Future's Forecasting (Comm. Planning)    Policy Organizations    Comparison of US / China Policy

Exam Reading List / Main Topics:  Reading List from Dr. Wedemeyer and Dr. Tehranian

Dr. Knuth's suggestions on what theoretical perspectives to study:

And know how these theories relate to: 

Majid Tehranian's Themes / Dilemmas of Comm. Policy (Com 650):
(click for more explanation)

REGIMES / ISSUES Market Driven Government Driven Civil Society Driven
Global Commons vs. Squatters Efficiency vs. Equity Domination vs. Balance
National Monopoly vs. Competition Growth vs. Regulation Representation vs. Unity
Provincial & Local Access vs. Service Diversity Taxes vs. Subsidies Uniformity vs. Pluralism


Telecommunications History in the United States:

  1. Bell's patent on the telephone (1876-1894)
    • people rented phones from Bell, took care of their own wiring
  2. First Sherman - Antitrust case, AT&T signs the Kingsbury agreement (1913)
    • stop acquiring other companies (Western Union)
    • allow competitors to connect to AT&T system (duplication of system wasteful)
  3. FDR's Communication Act of 1934 (Railroad model)
    • "... the enhancement of commerce in communication by wire and radio so as to make available, so far as possible, to all people of the United States, a rapid, efficient, Nation-wide and world-wide wire and radio communication service."    - U.S. Congress
    • Established the FCC (Federal Communications Commission)
    • Favored growth model:  encouraged AT&T monopoly to promote growth and universal service
  4. 1943:  WWII - Interstate long distance starts subsidizing local service
  5. 1956 & 1968:  "Hush-a-Phone" and Carterfone decisions set stage for competition
    • No longer can have only AT&T phones on network (cut AT&T hardware monopoly)
  6. 1969 & 1971:  MCI and "Specialized Common Carriers" plant seeds for long distance competition
  7. United States v. AT&T (1984)
    • break up AT&T's long-distance monopoly, make baby-Bell's (RBOC) for local service, encourage competition
  8. U.S. (Tele) Communication Act of 1996
    • models U.S. v. AT&T for rest of telecommunications, for LEC competition with ILECs, covers all areas of telecommunications
    • many criticize this Act for over-complicating policy (not cutting the knot), created many legal battles over 'fair' wholesale pricing to the new LECs without putting the ILEC out of business
    • this may have caused ILECs to be less likely to add to NII because the LECs would take advantage and it was cost-prohibitive
  9. Today Cell users and VoIP complicate the issue even more (more gray areas for the deregulatory movement to regulate!)
    • Deregulation is moving some companies forward towards monopoly.  For example:  Microsoft & the MSDN library:  encourages code developers to write software to be run on the Microsoft OS, by releasing small parts of the Windows OS code.  The result:  MSDN creates larger and larger market share of software being written for Windows platform

Sources on The Telecommunications Act of 1996:


Critical Perspective of US Policy with special attention to the Internet:



Further explanation and Issues on the Patriot Act:


(pay special interest to policies of last 2-3 decades)

Liberty:  the condition of being free from restriction or control

The Gordian Knot: Political Gridlock on the Information Highway (Neuman, McKnight & Solomon)

Marxism and Mass Media:

Notes from Majid Tehranian on Mass Media (main media vs. small media)

Telecommunication Policy for the Information Age:  From Monopoly to Competition (Gerald Brock)

Four problems that can arise in a policy making process:

  1. Opportunism:  using power NOT in the interest of the public
  2. Differing Political Values:  policy decisions help some people and hurt others
  3. Unavailable Info:  Adequate information is needed to make rational decisions, and this information isn't always available
  4. Bounded Rationality:  Policy makers may have a lack of expertise or experience that will allow them to devise good, problem solving policies

Emery Roe:  "Narrative Policy Analysis"

Policy Paradox:  The Art of Political Decision Making (Deborah Stone)

Communication Planning (Dr. Wedemeyer):

Future's Forecasting:  The Delphi Technique (Dr. Wedemeyer, PDF)

Different types of Events / Trends:  Social, Economic, Political, Technical

Draws from Cybernetics and System Theory:  These events / trends interact with each other

Feed-forward:  Another force to 'balance' the system better, in addition to feedback loops, feed-forward loops will make the system better prepared for the future


Policy Organizations:

Global Organizations:
- with no / little global government, summits / conferences provide a way to bring global issues to a head, create publicity, and get national governments to deal with those issues

National (U.S.) Organizations:

Local-level Organizations:
- fight local battles, with occasional federal intervention when necessary

Comparison of U.S. and China's Telecommunication Policies:

(need to fill in from Preston Gates Guide to Telecom in Asia)

China:  from Ministry of Information Industry from the People's Republic of China (MII of mainland China)


Issues: China United States
New Trends Huge phone (land line / cell growth) VoIP (Voice over IP) taking off, FCC trying to classify is as unregulated 'information service' or regulated / taxed 'telecommunication service'
Growth / Regulation Huge growth

Ministry of Commerce making policy to promote growth / expansion

Modest growth / higher regulation

FCC / Congress attempting classification of IP-Enabled Services

Investment to
Revenue Ratio
more revenue than investment, increasing margin each year  
Nature of Policies Extreme investment / growth:  special incentives for technology companies, drawing huge outside investment Policies are more regulatory, promote equality between businesses and fair pricing for customers
Telecommunication Potential Huge- while already largest in world (307 m. land lines, 320 m. cellular), population (over 1 billion) has huge potential for growth Less growth potential w/ land lines / cell, however VoIP is taking off (Vonage, etc.), and to a lesser extent, VIP (Video over IP) and VOD (Video On Demand)
Past Legislation that has changed Used to have tight control of telecommunications companies (only six state-owned players allowed before)

Of these 6, 4 already have foreign public offering of stock

FCC addressing policy for VoIP: defining separately 'telecommunications', 'telecommunications service' and 'information service', and how the States may regulate these
Degree of Regulation Anti-monopoly laws being passed by Ministry of Commerce to promote competition / reduce monopolies created by past policies, however the anticipated competition and huge foreign investment will likely yield stricter regulations in the future Following Communication Act of 1934, with amendments (AT&T vs. U.S. (1984), Telecommunication Act of 1996:  State regulation of VoIP

follow balance of taxes / subsidies (rural / urban areas), so access is more universal (available in rural areas @ a similar price to urban areas)

Current Problems Rural areas:  growth is booming in cities, but rural areas see little / no access

Cities are leapfroging ahead, while poor areas see no change (increasing gap between rich, techno-savvy urban and rural / poor)

New technology in 'gray' areas:  define them as telecommunications or information sources?
Conclusion Creating anti-monopoly regulatory agencies

Policies still aimed at growth with huge foreign investment

Telecommunications business seeing exponential revenue growth

Addressing important social mandates in VoIP (blurs the line between a telecommunication service and an information service

Deciding whether to regulate VoIP, and whether to require it to deliver emergency services (e911), disability access, etc.

Other facts about China:

China routinely blocks the sites of western media and other sources of politically sensitive info (filtering)

China lacks the knowledge for cellular technology so Siemens invested in it

All Chinese nationals over 18 must carry their Golden card/ smart card, which is an ID

China reduced its Internet access fees by half starting in March 1999

China offers the 2nd largest Market in the world for IT equipment and services

Rapid economic growth is confined to the Eastern metropolitan centers but the other 80% in rural areas are unchanged.

China invested in two major high-tech development centers:

Some major corporations:

One cannot view these two countries without examining their two governments and style of rule.  China's government is authoritarian, where rules are given out and expected to be followed (government acting as a parent), while democracy in the United States promotes problem discussion among the end users of technology.  Democracy's rule by the masses expects that the end users of technology will be the same ones promoting solutions to them, which promotes active discussion of the problem by all who are affected.  This is good, as more involvement produces more knowledge and better solutions to the problems that new policy tries to address.

Jump To:  Main Theories    Policy Themes    History of Telecommunications    The Gordian Knot    Marxism & Mass Media    Brock's Intro to Policy    Emery Roe's Policy 3 Problems    Stone's Intro to Policy    Future's Forecasting (Comm. Planning)    Policy Organizations    Comparison of US / China Policy