Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

49 Federal Communications Law Journal 1 (1996)


The author discusses the primary motivating factors behind the 1996 Telecommunications Act, examines how these factors influenced the final law, and critiques the Act by examining whether it is likely to advance public interest goals. Congress designed the Act to address two problems: "technological convergence" and "legal balkanization." The Act attempts to remedy these problems by: (1) tearing down entry barriers so that legal balkanization no longer stands in the path of technological convergence; (2) changing the mandate of the FCC from deciding who should enter the market to monitoring the conditions under which entry takes place in order to control predators; and (3) protecting the most vulnerable from harmful competition. To the extent that the Act destroys entry barriers, it will be deemed a success while, to the extent that it creates or strengthens entry barriers, it will be deemed as failing.