Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

53 Federal Communications Law Journal 533 (2001)


In the past few decades, the competitive climate has transformed for telecommunications companies from unification to fragmentation and back again. Rapidly changing technologies have created a “digital divide”—a technological gap between the “haves” and the “have nots.” H.R. 1542 attempts to solve the problem of the digital divide by providing Bell operating companies with expansive interLATA relief for data services. Although this bill has been a long time in the making, its sponsor, Representative Tauzin, recently reintroduced it in committee. This Note examines the problem of the digital divide, and provides the context in which H.R. 1542 developed. It also discusses alternatives to changing the current law and why these alternatives are far superior to H.R. 1542’s heavy-handed solution. Finally, this Note argues that the critical shortcoming of proposals like H.R. 1542 is not that they are ill-fitting, duplicative solutions to the problem of the digital divide, but that they will harm consumers in rural and urban areas by eliminating choice and raising prices.