THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 by definition : To promote competition and reduce regulation in order to secure lower prices and higher quality services for American telecommunications consumers and encourage the rapid deployment of new telecommunications technologies. (3)
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 ("the Act," P.L. 104-104) was the first major revision of communications law since 1934. Its passage opened up the video, local telephone, and long distance markets to competition and gave companies the regulatory flexibility they needed to invest tens of billions of dollars in new technology and services. Most importantly, the Act replaced a patchwork of judicial, FCC, and state regulations with a coherent, pro-competitive national telecommunications policy that seeks to bring the information age to all Americans. (1)
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 originally passed the Senate by a vote of 81-18 on June 15, 1995. The House approved a similar bill by a vote of 305-117 on August 4, 1995. Both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly to approve the conference report on February 1, 1996 (414-16 in the House, 91-5 in the Senate). President Clinton signed S. 652 into law on February 8, 1996. (3)
The Act established the following key policies and provisions:
Ã‚Â· PROMOTION OF ADVANCED TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICES
Ã‚Â· CABLE DEREGULATION/RATE RELIEF
Ã‚Â· DELIVERY OF VIDEO PROGRAMMING BY TELEPHONE COMPANIES.
Ã‚Â· FLEXIBILITY FOR BUYOUTS AND MERGERS BETWEEN TELCOS AND CABLE
Ã‚Â· REMOVING BARRIERS TO LOCAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPETITION
Ã‚Â· INTERCONNECTION AND UNBUNDLING OF THE LOCAL TELEPHONE LOOP
Ã‚Â· POLE ATTACHMENTS
Ã‚Â· V-CHIP AND RATINGS FOR POTENTIALLY OBJECTIONABLE TV PROGRAMMING
Of these key policies I find the V-Chip very interesting. I have cable T.V. in my home with all the channels active. My cousin sometimes comes over to visit me and watch T.V. My cousin is nine but thinks he's 20 so he is always getting into stuff he's not supposed to. One of my cousin's favorite things is watching "R" rated films. Now, don't get me wrong, I did the same thing when I was younger, but it wasn't as easy as turning on the T.V. and changing the channel if someone happened to walk in on you. Back then you had to get a VCR, then find a "Blue movie," and finally be ready to stop the VCR and get the T.V. back on if someone walked in the room.
V-chip technology works as follows: The "V-chip" is a computerized component now required in all television sets with screens larger than 13 inches. It is an attempt put decisions about which TV shows are appropriate for children in the hands of parents. Under the new law, parents will use the violence chip in conjunction with a national rating system for television-show violence. The chip will enable parents to choose which shows their TVs can receive. (1) The cost of this component is marginal and there for won't have any noticeable impact on the overall price of the newly manufactured TV's. Consumers should also feel more of a relief knowing that their children (or cousins) will be shielded from some of the more objectionable cable T.V. material that is being aired these days.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 has had major impact on the telecommunications field from drastically lower long distance bills, allowing you to get more bang for your buck with new services, and "For your eyes only," T.V. viewing. I can't find any cons in this act at my present point of awareness but I'm sure the Baby bells would have a different view on this act.