In many developed countries there has recently been serious erosion of the monopoly position of national telecommunications authorities. Such authorities have long found difficulty in adjusting to the furious pace of electronics technology. The private sector may find less difficulty and should benefit as both user and provider of new information services. However, there are likely to be costs involved, and those who have traditionally made least use of telecommunications seem destined to bear the bulk of these costs. In developed countries, this may be unfortunate: in developing countries, the consequences could be much more serious.