SPOTLIGHT: Happy 10th Anniversary, Telecom Act 1996

Happy 10th Anniversary to the Telecommunications Act of 1996! It's a day late, but I bet we're still the first. Yesterday, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, former FCC commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth, former Sen. Larry Pressler and former Rep. Thomas Bliley got together to discuss the Act, which they said was 62 years in the making. When asked what telecom event spurred by the Act's passage surprised him the most, Bliley said the big mergers last year. Pressler explained that Congress will make very little headway, if any, on upgrading the Act because Congress gains little and stands to lose a lot from doing so. Pressler added that the public is not engaged in the details of telecom law: If they cared about spectrum auctions, the auctions would have happened a long time ago. Furchtgott-Roth said he doesn't believe that every time technology changes, the laws need to change: A good law is one that stands the test of time. Article