I think VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) is one of the most thrilling technological advances of the past two years. It really hammers home the idea that no monopoly, however natural the regulators think it is, is etched in stone unless the regulators and the monopolists want it to be. Technological change creates contestability, which is the death-knell to incumbents, unless the incumbents have the financial and political wherewithal to prevent the contestability from arising. But even that just slows the progression, as Josef Schumpeter taught us (remember that “perennial gale of creative destruction” thing).
Tyler Cowen picks up on the FCC hearings on regulating VOIP telephony. Not surprisingly, the issue is one of access charges and the inherited charges that traditional phone companies are responsible for paying.
This should be an interesting one …
I am also grateful to Tyler for his thoughtful comments on seeing Love Actually, which I also found was more nuanced and less sentimental than I expected a Richard Curtis movie to be. Of course, I encourage you all to go see it, if only for the scenes with Colin Firth wearing that amazing blue tweed cable turtleneck sweater and flashing that drop dead smile. As my friends with whom I saw the movie said, yes, it’s pandering to our tastes for eye candy (the movie also has Hugh Grant and Liam Neeson, yum, and Alan Rickman not looking as yummy as he’s capable of), but it hits the nail on the head in the pandering department. Seriously, though, I echo Tyler’s comments on the substance of the film. Although I think one reason they portrayed Americans as they did is as payback for the cardboard stereotype that we frequently have of the British, which is well deserved payback, I think.