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49 Federal Communications Law Journal 251 (1997)


The 1996 Telecommunications Act has forever transformed the regulatory landscape. The Act contemplates the creation of competition across the full telecommunications field, even in areas such as local telephone service and cable television service that had previously been monopoly controlled. The main combatants in this new marketplace will tend to be even larger companies than those currently dominating the scene. There are numerous dangers, however, that will have to be averted in order for the Act to be successful. The first is that existing monopolies, such as the BOCs and cable operators, will leverage their current power either to gain an unfair advantage in a competitive market, or to retain their advantage in the local arena. The second danger is that the cure to the first is worse than the disease. Even if there is such competition among large communications companies, the FCC will have one more critical task: the need to ensure that there is a place for the smaller player.