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Implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996

For more than a decade, NTIA has advocated State and Federal action to introduce and to expand competition in all telecommunications and information services markets, particularly markets for local telecommunications services. NTIA believes that greater competition will lead to lower prices and expanded choices for consumers, as well as faster deployment of advanced telecommunications networks and services.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 embodies that same procompetitive philosophy. NTIA has been an active participant in proceedings before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to implement the 1996 Act. NTIA has also commented in related FCC proceedings to ensure that: (1) the level and structure of access charges are compatible with the competitive marketplace that the 1996 Act will create; (2) consumers have the information they need to make informed choices about the services and prices available to them; and (3) telecommunications service providers do not misuse personal information that they obtain from their customers. Finally, NTIA has worked to develop and to advocate universal service policies that will ensure that all Americans will have affordable access to competitively-provided telecommunications and information services.

Overview of the Telecommunications Act of 1996

NTIA Filings on Local Competition:
  • Ex Parte Reply Comments to the FCC in CC Docket No. 96-98 concerning new standards for determining what network elements local telephone companies must make available to competitors on an unbundled basis.
  • Letter to the FCC in CC Docket No. 98-170 expressing support for the FCC's Truth-in-Billing and Billing Format proceeding.
  • Letter to the FCC in CC Docket No. 96-262 offering proposals for reforming access charges.
  • Letter to the FCC in CC Docket No. 96-115 concerning telephone companies' use of customer proprietary network information (CPNI) and other customer information.
  • Reply Comments to the FCC in CC Docket No. 96-115 concerning implementation of the local competition provisions to the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

NTIA Hearings and Forums:
  • Internet Telephony , Sept. 4, 1997. The forum focused on the use of the Internet to provide telephone service. Speakers offered their visions for providing competitive telephone service over the Internet. Participants debated the regulatory, technical, and economic issues and hurdles associated with this technology.
  • Wireless Local Loop, Dec. 17, 1997. This forum examined the development of wireless technologies that can provide a competitive alternative to existing local telephone service. Wireless technology may provide an affordable alternative to wireline telephone service in rural and remote areas of the country whose residents frequently have limited or no service.
  • New Directions in Telecom, Feb. 4, 1998. At the final Advanced Technology forum, NTIA Assistant Secretary Larry Irving chaired a roundtable discussion of the relative success of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, two years after enactment. Attendees included new entrants, incumbents providers, and regulators, who discussed new opportunities and choices in telecommunications created by the 1996 Act.

See Also: Additional Resources

For more information contact:

Office of Policy Analysis and Development

National Telecommunications & Information Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room 4725
Washington, D.C. 20230
voice: (202) 482-1880 · fax: (202) 482-6173
E-mail: webopad.ntia.doc.gov

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