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I believe that Mr. Cisler's original posting and Mr. Barber's response of
2/28/94 have pointed out a very interesting issue with regard to regulation
and pricing.  If I recall my microeconomic theory correctly (not a sure thing),
it should be the goal of all "businesses" (be they profit or non-profit) to set
prices at "marginal cost" in order to maximize revenue.  My recollection is
that this only works, however, in an economic situation which is competitive,
and that in reality we are often dealing with telecommunication monopolies.
The "incremental cost" proposed in the amendment is really equivalent to that
marginal cost principle, and in an ideal market situation it should be the
price set for ALL buyers of the service, not just non-profits.
 
So I believe that the question should be: is it more effective (efficient?) to
deal with equity issues through a regulatory/legal process which (1) imposes
special pricing requirements on providers, or (2) directly subsidizes those
unable to afford monopolistic prices, or (3) assures competition?  Assuming that
it will not be possible to assure competition in all market areas (#3, the
ideal), then we are left (in the interest of equity) with one or a combination
of the other alternatives, both of which tend to result in some level of
bureaucratic involvement.  This is the cost of doing business in an imperfect
marketplace, and one of the few areas where government needs to play a role in
the economy in order to assure equal access to a vital resource.  It won't be
easy, but IMHO I believe it's necessary, and that we will be able to work out
the details (although with some difficulty).
 
Joe Scorza
 
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On Sunday, 2/27/94, Steve Cisler wrote:
 
> Sam Simon posts some interesting amendments and changes to the
> Markey Fields bill:
>
> > A new provision will be added to the bill that reads as follows:
>
>      "(iii) Such plan [referring to a plan developed by a federal/state
> joint board] shall address the need for public access to telecommunication
> services at incremental cost offered by non-profit, public institutions,
> public education, library, public broadcasting and government entities,
> both as producers and users of services."
>
> --
> I was talking to some other Internet veterans representing higher
> education, and the problem they have with this is that if you
> add up all the possible network users from non-profit, public
> institutions, libraries, public broadcasting, education and
> certainly government, you have a huge percent of the user base
> that is asking the for-profit sector to subsidize them to
> some degree.  While you would have some, perhaps many, worthy
> recipients of the subsidy, you would also have some wealth
> non-profits like National Geographic Society or govt. entities
> like <name your well-heeled govt. agency> that might have
> cheaper rates than Tanya's Software Works or many small
> and struggling businesses.
>
> There would be a lot of bureaucratic overhead to try and
> decide which users within the non-profit/govt/ed categories
> are worthy of such discounts.
>
> Steve Cisler
> Apple Library
> [log in to unmask]