Regulating Voip

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.

3 thoughts on “Regulating Voip

  1. I enjoyed Love Actually but was irritated with the way they portrayed Americans. I know we have some real-life examples of boorish behavior on the part of Presidents, but it seemed unnecessary and unfunny.

    They can portray Americans as buffoons and make it funny: just think of Kevin Kline’s character in A Fish Called Wanda, one of the best comedies of the last twenty years.

  2. Oh, yes, Kevin Kline in AFCW is stellar! What a superb movie, nuanced in so many different ways. LA is certainly not nuanced in its portrayal of the WI ladies or the President. I guess it just didn’t bug me that much (plus, Billy Bob Thornton is really good at playing his role in a very smarmy manner).

  3. Actually, I thought the most finely nuanced and sophisticated cinematic commentary from 1988 was Leslie Nielson’s speech in The Naked Gun:

    “The job of providing security for Queen Elizabeth’s visit is one that is gladly accepted by Police Squad, for no matter how silly the idea of having a queen may be to us we have an obligation to be gracious and considerate hosts.”

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