What is the Point of Heavily Regulating a Declining Product?

As a rule, and with the caveat that other points of view exist, I tend to believe that increasing regulation of declining services, industries and products is ultimately pointless, and a waste of time and resources. When it is clear that a product is declining, and being replaced by one or more new substitutes, it just makes sense to allow as graceful a decline as possible.

Since the best outcome is a graceful harvesting of remaining revenues, as demand keeps shifting to the replacement products, it does not make sense to increase, and in some cases, even to maintain, high levels of regulation. Instead, it likely makes sense to allow customers to choose, and suppliers to market, whatever services they want, with less-burdensome overhead, wherever possible.

That would seem to be the case for the U.S. business data services market.  

The business data market has been shifting from legacy SONET/SDH to Ethernet for quite some time. By some estimates, SONET/SDH new hardware sales, for example, represent about $2 billion in annual sales, while optical and IP hardware sales were likely an order of magnitude higher by 2015, according to Cisco.

Packet optical and wave division multiplexing equipment sales have been growing since at least 2010 at the expense of SONET/SDH, according to Heavy Reading. Supply also is increasing as well.

After twelve years of study, multiple rounds of comments, and the most extensive data collection ever conducted by the Commission, the FCC concluded that there is “substantial and growing competition” in the “dynamic” marketplace for BDS in the geographic areas of price cap carriers, US Telecom notes.

Such trends are why US Telecom now argues the Federal Communications Commission should be deregulating business data service where competition now exists.


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