Telecom Act Of 1996 Essay, Research Paper
Telecommunications act of 1996
In an attempt to take control of telecommunication technology, congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This massive act comprehensively addresses virtually every current aspect of telecommunications. It is the first major telecommunications legislation enacted since the Communications Act of 1934, which essentially established the air waves as public property, regulated by the government. Major provisions in the media include major restructuring of the telephone industry, deregulation of the cable industry, and limitations in content of broadcast and network media.
In the Bell breakup of 1984, the seven regional bells were now able to compete in the long distance arena. Long distance companies may now offer local service. There are no more prohibitions on cross-ownership in the telephone or cable industries. In fact, phone companies may now offer cable service and cable companies may offer telephone service.
While much of the bill s spirit is that of deregulation, some of the Act imposes strict new regulation. Chief among these is the Communications Decency Act, which is embedded in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This is, by far, the most controversial and disputed portion of the Telecom Act.
The Communications Decency Act, which is aimed at the internet, imposes stiff criminal penalties for any person who transmits obscene materials over a computer network. The American Civil Liberties Union, upon passage of the Act, promptly filed an injunction in the United States District Court in Pennsylvania. The ACLU contended that indecent material was constitutionally protected under the first amendment and that any regulation thereof was forbidden. The future of the Communications Decency Act looks shaky. Unless it is rewritten with the questioned portions repealed, it is unlikely to survive in this day and age.
In the telephone industry, The Act permits Bell Operating Companies (BOCs), or the Baby Bells, and GTE to offer inter LATA (Local Access and Transport Areas) service only when all entry barriers to competition are removed in their operations bases. This is to be accomplished by completing a competitive checklist , which includes requirements of all Local Exchange Carriers (LECs) to interconnect with new entrants.
The new act specifically recognizes universal telephone service as a continually evolving technology. The Act of 1996 s language also extends universal telephone service in a non-discriminatory environment that provides reasonable access to all citizens who desire it.
One of the most important parts of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is the elimination of the FCC s telco-cable cross-ownership regulations. Carriers may now use virtually any means to allow cable (or cable-like) access to programming. It establishes equipment as navigation devices in the place of televisions to acknowledge the presence of interactively in the media and the internet connections that are possible. This opens the door for telepresence technology in the home via high-bandwidth systems inherent to the cable industry. Personally, I think we are going to see an incredible explosion in telepresence (commerce, video
In conclusion, as the world becomes increasingly digital, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 will show its power as a living document that recognizes this. All intellectual property can be easily digitized, if it wasn t created in digital format, and be sent across the Internet. It is important for us, as a society, to protect our identity and commerce, both of which are increasingly reliant on the Internet. The Act is a general step in the right direction.