It has become the conventional wisdom that technological forces are propelling all communications media towards a single, ubiquitous digital network that can be called an 'information superhighway'. The current structure of the telecommunications sector in the United States and, indeed, in most countries, reflects a series of governmental actions and historical accidents. The extension of fiber optics greatly expanded the capacity of all carriers investing in it. Telephone companies could now transmit enormous quantities of data, voice, or video through their lines up to the point at which the signals had to be handed off to copper-wire distribution lines; thereafter, they were limited by the small bandwidth of the copper wires. Digital signal compression technologies, declining electronics costs, and fiber optics have changed the economics of telecommunications. The underlying economics of building networks would seem thus to point to convergence, at least for the moment.