This paper has been published as: Michael J. Santorelli (2010) Regulatory Federalism in the Age of Broadband: A U.S. Perspective. Policy and Internet 2 (3) 99-128.
Santorelli, M.J., Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute, New York Law School
Broadband is poised to transform many sectors of the economy in the United States. Indeed, the federal government, via the President, Congress, and the Federal Communications Commission, has identified this technology as a key tool for realizing an array of "national purposes," including fundamental changes to how healthcare, energy, education, and an array of other services are delivered to and consumed by citizens. However, as broadband begins to inure itself into the business models of services that are largely regulated by the states, novel questions regarding the proper scope of regulatory federalism - i.e., the ways in which federal and state government share oversight of a wide range of industries, from telecommunications to energy to healthcare - are likely to arise.
This article examines the historical balance of federalism in the regulation of communications services, healthcare, and energy; identifies novel issues that have arisen and that are likely to arise as broadband is used to transform these services; and proposes a framework for efficiently and effectively addressing these issues.