The Daily Caller: A not-so-sweet 16

February 10th, 2012

The Daily Caller
By Harold Ford Jr.
February 10, 2012

We could go on, but the simple fact is the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is woefully outdated. No one could have conceived of the explosion in access to the Internet through wired high-speed broadband connections in 95 percent of U.S. households, or of the astonishing number of “apps” available on smart phones and tablets running iOS, Android and Windows.

True, the 1996 act did lead to more competition, as telephone companies entered the video business and cable companies offered phone service. But its retro focus on opening the “long distance” market and requiring legacy phone networks to lease hardware to others seems as relevant today as rules governing telegrams and fax machines.

Rewriting the Telecommunications Act of 1996 will be a long and arduous process that will require the input and goodwill of stakeholders from the telecommunications industry, network providers, users, regulatory agencies and, of course, the U.S. Congress.