Review of Industrial Organization 13: 613–615, 1998. Book Review Universal Service: Competition, Interconnection, and Monopoly in the Making of the American Telephone System. Milton L. Miller, Jr. Cambridge MA: The MIT Press and Washington, DC: The AEI Press, 1997, 213 pages, $40. “Universal service” in the telephone industry has at least two working deﬁnitions. The deﬁnition most familiar in current circles refers to universal connectedness, or connecting all households to the nationally interconnected telephone network. The most critical issue in such an endeavor is to provide basic telephone service at a “reasonable” monthly rate to all U.S. citizens. The less known deﬁnition of univer- sal service was coined by Theodore Vail, then president of AT&T, in 1907, referring to a uniﬁed (national) telephone system controlled by one company, AT&T. The primary difference between these two working deﬁnitions is interconnectedness. The author’s intent with this work is to highlight the contrast in these two def- initions, place the early deﬁnition in historical context, and map out the transition of this market from one of access competition (which made the original deﬁnition of universal service a goal of AT&T) to one of regulated monopoly, then to price competition in an interconnected
Review of Industrial Organization – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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