While now is the time for a rethinking of telecommunications regulation, that does not mean that it's time for regulators to get out of the way ("A level field for telecom's titans," Editorials, Aug. 30). The telecommunications industry is currently regulated because it is considered an essential service and remains, in most instances, a monopoly service.

Contrary to what you suggest in your editorial, states have been actively encouraging the development of a modern, efficient, and high-quality public telecommunications infrastructure and promoting competition. For example, 22 states allow at least partial competition in the local exchange.

Simply getting regulators out of the way is not the answer. Competition will not bring immediate and uniform benefits to all consumers, because competition will come more slowly to some areas and services than others. Accordingly, states have been pursuing the wiser and responsible policy of gradually altering the form of regulation as competition emerges. Instant deregulation is not the answer.

Michelle Harris

Assistant Director

Congressional & Public Relations

National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners

Washington

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