Weiss Co-Authors Telecom History


Book CoverShaping American Telecommunications is a new history of the telecommunications industry co-written by Christopher H. Sterling, Phyllis W. Bernt, and Martin B.H. Weiss, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences. This recently-published book examines the industry from the invention of the telegraph and telephone through the introduction of cable and the Internet to the meltdown of the industry in the 2000s. It is a comprehensive, chronological look at an industry that has survived both dramatic growth and catastrophic decline.

Weiss and his co-authors look at the technological advances, the regulatory and policy issues, and the economic forces that have shaped the telecommunications industry. They explain the basic technical and regulatory principles that shaped the telecommunications field so that students and other interested parties can understand the following tumultuous decades of boom and bust. The authors are careful to consider all the elements that contributed to events such as the 1949 antitrust suit against AT&T, breakup of the Bell Telephone system, mergers between telecommunication firms and cable companies, the introduction of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and the dramatic drop in Internet and Telecom stocks in March 2000 that initiated the meltdown of the telecommunications industry.

Shaping American Telecommunications is published by Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates of New Jersey. It has been a decade-long effort on the part of Sterling, Bernt and Weiss, all of whom have extensive experience with the telecommunications industry. Christopher Sterling has taught media and telecommunications courses at George Washington University as well as authoring/editing 20 books on both media and telecommunications history and policy. Dr. Sterling was a senior staffer at the Federal Communications Commission in the early 1980s and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Phyllis Bernt is a professor of communication systems management at Ohio University. Throughout most of the 1980s, she worked for Lincoln ( Nebraska) Telephone, which is now part of Alltel: she was responsible for rate development, costs analysis and tariff preparation. Martin Weiss serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. In the 70s and 80s, he worked at Bell Labs, Mitre Corporation, and Deloitte Haskins and Sells. He holds a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University and teaches a series on courses on telecommunications, management and policy. The authors have brought their combined experience in industry and government regulatory agencies to bear on this publication – this book chronicles the events and advancements that occurred throughout Telecom’s history and considers the technological, policy, regulatory and economic developments that defined the telecommunications field.