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2007

Columbia Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

A Brief History Of American Telecommunications Regulation, Tim Wu Jan 2007

A Brief History Of American Telecommunications Regulation, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

While the history of governmental regulation of communication is at least as long as the history of censorship, the modern regulation of long-distance, or "tele," communications is relatively short and can be dated to the rise of the telegraph in the mid-19th century. The United States left the telegraph in private hands, unlike countries and as opposed to the U.S. postal system, and has done the same with most of the significant telecommunications facilities that have been developed since. The decision to allow private ownership of telecommunications infrastructure has led to a rather particularized regulation of these private owners ...