Trylon Communications  - November 2004

Election Impact

With the election over and the Bush administration in place for another four years, significant impacts on the media industry are inevitable. Some areas likely to see changes are media consolidation, technological development, regulatory oversight and broadband rollout.

Most experts predict the FCC will again introduce regulatory reforms aimed at allowing greater consolidation of media ownership including rules governing when and if companies can own, in a single market, two TV stations, both TV and radio stations, and both TV stations and newspapers.

On the technology front, expect to see action regarding the development of VoIP (voice over Internet protocol). Administration officials, as well as top FCC regulators, have said they prefer a deregulatory approach to rules governing telephone services over the Internet.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 will likely be overhauled by Congress in the next year or two. The landmark law, which reshaped the regulatory landscape, has come under heavy assault in both regulatory decisions and court rulings. The FCC is also expected to release new wholesale long-distance rates that will be more favorable to the regional Bells than would have been the case had John Kerry won.

While both Bush and Kerry had outlined broadband policies for the next four years (see article), with Bush pledging to make it ubiquitous by 2007, observers expect a more relaxed regulatory stance with some incentives thrown in a policy that will be under intense scrutiny.

The end result may well be larger, more consolidated companies moving faster under less regulatory oversight.