Telecom Act Should Reflect 17 Years of Progress
Seventeen years ago today, Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 as the first major overhaul to United States communications policy in more than sixty years. Communications technology had advanced so far beyond the rules designed to govern it that Congress was compelled to act.
With all that has happened in the past seventeen years (the rise of the World Wide Web, an explosion in web-based communications, the birth of the smartphone and the Internet of Things), it may be time for Congress to act again.
The fact that the 1996 Act only mentioned the “Internet” twice may be the most telling sign of all that it is ripe for reform. Today, there are more web-connected devices than people in the U.S.
In the 20th century, the telephone was the primary means of communications. In the 21st century, high-speed broadband Internet has assumed that role.
Nearly every aspect of technology has been modernized in the past twenty years. It’s high-time that the laws that govern it are too.