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OPP Working Paper No. 31: Text | Word97 | Acrobat

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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

July 19, 1999

News Media contacts:
Linda Paris at (202) 418-7121
Rosemary Kimball (202) 418-0500


The FCC Office of Plans and Policy (OPP) today released the latest in its OPP Working Paper Series, entitled "The FCC and the Unregulation of the Internet." Authored by Jason Oxman, Counsel for Advanced Communications in the Office of Plans and Policy, the paper examines the FCC's thirty-year history of not regulating the data services market, and how that tradition of "unregulation" was a crucial factor in the successful growth of the Internet. OPP periodically issues working papers on emerging issues in communications; these papers represent the individual views of their authors and are not official statements by the FCC or any FCC commissioner.

Since opening an inquiry into the interrelationship of the telecommunications network and computer-based services in 1966, the FCC has taken numerous affirmative steps to ensure that the marketplace, not regulation, allowed innovation and experimentation to flourish. As a result, a vast majority of Americans have inexpensive and reliable access to the Internet.

The typical American family gains an incredible amount of value from its $20 per month Internet account, including such services as investing, travel planning, homework research, email communications, and shopping, among others. The Internet Economy generated over $300 billion in revenue in the U.S. last year and is rapidly changing the way America does business. Nearly one third of the nation's households are regular Internet users.

A summary of the working paper is attached. The full text is available on the FCC web site at

- FCC -

Office of Plans and Policy contact: Jason Oxman, 202-418-1078,

July 19, 1999

Summary of
"The FCC and the Unregulation of the Internet"
by Jason Oxman, Counsel for Advanced Communications
Office of Plans and Policy
Working Paper No. 31

The success of the Internet has not been an accidental development. Market forces have driven the Internet's growth, and the FCC has had a role to play in creating a deregulatory environment in which the Internet could flourish. The working paper examines the history of the FCC's data policies and the ways in which those policies have benefited the Internet. Key FCC policy decisions, the paper finds, have included: In the paper, Jason Oxman also concludes that the FCC, in plotting a deregulatory course for the future, should take advantage of lessons learned in three decades of "unregulation" of data networks: