chapter  2
Beyond the Golden Age of the public network
ByEli M. Noam
Pages 5

In the United States, the Golden Age of the public network, in which substantial universal service coincided with group substantial monopoly, was as brief and romanticized as the cowboy era; it lasted about twenty years from 1950, but in the mid-1960s centrifugal forces began their assault. The departure from the public school system cannot be explained primarily by the supply of new options or by new technology but rather by an increased demand to exit. In a similar sense, recent centrifugal development in independent electric power generation had very little to do with new technology. Telecommunications are only one instance for widespread ascendancy of centrifugalism, previously shared social arrangements. Telecommunications policy is an environment in which there are many battle-hardened troops, but too few strategists. There is an abundance of activities, plans, facts, fights, but only a limited analytical apparatus.