Why Telecommunications Deregulation Should Matter to You

Have you ever heard of the term “the triple bottom line”? And, more importantly, how does it relate to telecommunications deregulation? And, even more important, why should you care? Well, much of the technology you use today is the direct result of actions taken over 40 years ago.I’m old enough to remember when you could only rent a telephone from the phone company. When we could buy our own phone and plug it in to the jack on the wall, it gave us a tremendous sense of freedom. That was only the beginning.When I made the decision to retire from managing an accounting firm many years ago, one of the movements that “caught my eye” was corporate social responsibility. At the time, there wasn’t much of it.To be fair, that’s not entirely true. Corporations generally felt “responsible” only towards their shareholders. Making money was the surest way to optimize shareholder value. And, corporate leadership made that their #1 priority.Some things change. Some things stay the same.It would be “Polly Anna” of me to say that corporations are not focused on making money these days. Of course, they are – and they should be. However, there is more thought given to the “big picture” and what those in the field of corporate social responsibility call “the triple bottom line” or TBL.The triple bottom line focuses on 3 major areas for value creation -
Profitability
Social Impact
Environmental Impact (Local and Global)
When considering the TBL, if making money comes at the expense of stakeholders (employees, vendors, associates) or the environment, there would be no net increase in value realized. Sure, this can be taken to the extreme but you can see plenty of examples of big corporations embracing their social responsibility in advertising. When an energy company spends millions of dollars running ads that talk only about their concern about the environment, it is obvious that things have changed.What does this have to do with telecommunications?Well, one of the drivers of major change (especially when it’s a costly transition) is government regulation. In the early 70′s, telecom began to undergo a dramatic process of deregulation. This didn’t happen without a big push from government – investigations, regulations, lawsuits.And, while it may have been costly for a few in the short-term, it has brought us a flood of technological advances including the development of products and services that would not have made their way to the market if we accepted “business as usual”.So, this is a reminder. Think outside the box. There is plenty of room for “business unusual”.

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