Scherer, F.M. "The Historical Foundations of Communications Regulation." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP08-050, October 2008.
This paper, written for a conference at the University of Lisbon, surveys patterns since the 16th century in the governance of communications service providers -- in order, the mails, telegraphy, the telephone, and radio. It analyzes the tendency for many communications service enterprises to be publicly-owned and identifies reasons for the exceptions. Tasks subject to either public control or regulation are identified -- e.g., route structure, pricing, patent stalemates, technological standards, physical interfaces and interoperability, electromagnetic spectrum allocation, and the privacy of communications.