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Telecommunications Reform Essay

3164 words - 13 pages

In the past, it has been shown that with each new wave of breakthroughs of communications technology, there has been a trend towards a change throughout the entire communications industry. Telecommunications is getting more personal, affecting the way that we view the world around us. As a result, the telecommunications industry has fragmented into specialized areas, each being better suited to providing certain services. This is a far cry from the time when foreboding monopolies with names like BT, ATT, and NTT ruled the industry. Now there are players such as GTE, Orbcomm, and Lucent. The playing field has become crowded, with many corporations vying for the space once occupied by only a ...view middle of the document...

Having communications regulations in place could be important to a nation trying to prevent a "bleed" of its technology to other nations around the world. For example, until recently, most computers over a certain speed that had to be shipped out of the country to a nation such as the former Soviet Union needed an export license. This regulation was in place in order to prevent reverse engineering of American products. This applies to the American communications industry because tight controls are kept over cryptography products in order to prevent them from being sold to nations who In turn might use our strong encryption protocols against the United States.

However, regulation has recently fallen out of favor with much of the developed world. A good example of this trend is FLAG, the Fiberoptic Link Around the Globe. FLAG will stretch over numerous continents in an attempt to create a high-bandwith link between the countries of Europe and the countries of Asia. FLAG will provide these countries with an Internet connection that is faster or just as fast as any connection available in the United States. The telecommunication company Nynex as well as local telecommunications companies around the world have spent large amounts of money to make sure that FLAG works as advertised for all parties involved. There is much at stake. The reason why FLAG is so monumental is because of its deregulatory impact on all of the local telecommunications systems that it touches. FLAG gives each one of the participating countries a chance to significantly increase its ability to compete in the global telecommunications market. Also, FLAG created a slight bit of telecommunications reform by passing through such countries as Egypt, which has traditionally been more stringent with its telecom resources. In all, FLAG is a monumental change for all parties involved. It will take time as well as effort in order to assimilate into the global telcom network. FLAG only eases this transition for several countries.

An example of the impact FLAG will have is the introduction of a greatly expanded local Internet to the nation of Malaysia. The local Internet of Malaysia, JARING, is tightly censored and controlled by the government. With FLAG cutting a route through Malaysia, it will be interesting to see if the Malay people will tolerate such a tightly censored system when they can have access to the whole of the worldwide Internet through the bandwith provided by FLAG. Governments such as Malaysia's will find it futile to censor their country's Internet connection due to the sheer amount of information pouring through it. In a still developing nation such as Malaysia, it seems that they would not be able to scale their censorship efforts up to the massive amounts of information that the Internet would bring to Malaysian shores.

Another example of technology aiding in telcom reform would be the creation of Iridium and Teledesic, two satellite communications...

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