FCC Poised to Gut '96 Telecom Act [telecom]

Analysis by Carol Wilson

The FCC may be poised to basically gut many of the provisions of the

1996 Telecommunications Act, the landmark legislation that unleashed competition in the telecom space more than two decades ago, now that large incumbents are pushing a compromise plan that delays the action.

Incumbent telcos, led by their trade association United States Telecom Association (USTelecom) , asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in May to dispense with rules that require them to resell their last-mile connections to customers to competitive carriers as unbundled network elements (UNEs) at prescribed wholesale rates, claiming competition is well established already. It was the access to these UNEs and the guarantee of cost-effective connectivity that spurred the telecom boom in the late '90s, with an explosion of fiber network construction.

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