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49 Federal Communications Law Journal 289 (1997)


Perhaps one of the most crucial questions legislators need to address after passing the 1996 Act is the reform of the Federal Communications Commission. Some suggest that the Commission should be abolished altogether, while others recommend merely curtailing some of the Commission's responsibilities. However, true reform of the FCC recognizes that the Commission still has a vital role to play in the shaping of the telecommunications industry. Instead of dismantling the FCC altogether, Congress should redefine the public interest standard under which the FCC operates. The 1934 Communications Act charged the Federal Communications Commission with protecting "the public interest." While communications have changed drastically since 1934, the Commission continues to view the public interest as promoting the fair allocation of a scare resource. The current abundance of telecommunications services demands the reform of this public interest standard. The new public interest standard should incorporate procompetitive antitrust principles.