Tauzin-Dingell: Helping to Disable
The 1996 Telecommunications Act

By Judi Clark
NetAction Advisory Board Member

Introduction

This paper summarizes the current state and likely prospects of proposed legislation to advance incumbent local Bell telephone company interests by cutting back on their pro-competitive obligations under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 ("1996 Act").

My principle conclusion is that, while imminent passage of pro-Bell legislation is not likely, the stakes are sufficiently high that competitive interests will face continual battles in Congress, with State regulatory bodies, and in the courts to prevent the rollback of the rights originally granted to them in the 1996 Act and FCC interpretations of it.

Ma Bell and The 1996 Telecommunications Act

The 1996 Act, Provision 1: Reciprocal Compensation

Tauzin and Dingell Stroll In

Dismantling The 1996 Act: Tauzin Struts Back In

Dismantling The 1996 Act: The FCC "Deregulates"

3-year phase out of line sharing

Expanded role for states

Elimination or phasing out of ILEC unbundling requirements for fiber-related resources

Likely impact on consumers, non-profits, and small businesses

There Once Was A Market

Tauzin Swaggers Up to the Bar, Again

Conclusion

End Notes

This paper is available as a single HTML file, a Microsoft Word 5.1 document, and a PDF document.


In Closing

The author wishes to thank Chris Savage, partner with Cole, Raywid and Braverman in Washington D.C., for his valuable perspectives on many of the thornier issues discussed here.

About the Author

Judi Clark, a NetAction Advisory Board Member, has been riding the curl of the Internet wave for over a dozen years. During that time, she has explained, instructed, illustrated, documented, written copy, set context, and provided perspectives for a wide variety of businesses, schools, and clients.

August 2003