Telecommunications Act of 1996

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The Telecommunications Act of 1996
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 can be termed as a major overhaul of the communications law in the past sixty-two years. The main aim of this Act is to enable any communications firm to enter the market and compete against one another based on fair and just practices (“The Telecommunications Act 1996,” The Federal Communications Commission). This Act has the potential to radically change the lives of the people in a number of different ways. For instance it has affected the telephone services both local and long distance, cable programming and other video services, broadcast services and services provided to schools. The Federal Communications Commission has actively endorsed this Act and has worked towards the enforcement and implementation of the various clauses listed in the document. The Act was basically brought into existence in order to promote competition and reduce regulation so that lower prices and higher quality services for the Americans consumers may be secured.
Of particular importance is the deregulation of the telecommunications industry as mentioned in the act (“Implementation of the Telecommunications Act,” NTLA). This reflects a new thinking that service providers should not be limited by artificial and now antique regulatory categories but should be permitted to compete with each other in a robust marketplace that contains many diverse participants. Moreover the Act is evidence of governmental commitment to make sure that all citizens have access to advanced communication services at affordable prices through its “universal service” provisions even as competitive markets for the telecommunications industry expand. Prior to passage of this new Act, U.S. federal and state laws and a judicially established consent decree allowed some competition for certain services, most notably among long distance carriers. Universal service for basic telephony was a national objective, but one developed and shaped through federal and state regulations and case law (“Telecommunications Act of 1996,” Technology Law). The goal of universal service was referred to only in general terms in the Communications Act of 1934, the nation's basic telecommunications statute. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 among other things: (i) opens up competition by local telephone companies, long distance providers, and cable companies ...

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...ns especially when it came to deregulating the telecommunications industry. The new law was expected to bring radical changes to the communications industry, providing high quality services to the masses at minimal cost. The act was also designed with the specific purpose of ensuring that advanced telecommunications will be available to every citizen as part of the policy for universal service. The FCC and the states, as the regulatory bodies, implement the law. Its been over three years since the law was passed and most critics have claimed that nothing worthwhile came out of the act besides the mergers of course. Ultimately however, the services brought to the public will depend on the providers of those services and their success in the marketplace.

1. “The Telecommunications Act of 1996.” Available online at:
2. “Implementation of the Telecommunications Act.” Available online at:
3. “The Telecommunications Act of 1996.” Available online at:

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