By Harold Furchtgott-Roth
The writer, who served as one of many 5 commissioners of the Federal Communications fee for numerous years, explains why this and different executive corporations that aren't manage with separation of powers in brain turn out undermining the rule of thumb of legislation.
Read Online or Download A Tough Act to Follow?: The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Separation of Powers Failure PDF
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Additional info for A Tough Act to Follow?: The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Separation of Powers Failure
No one knew. Surely the first few months would hold the worst of the uncertainty. Within six months, the Federal Communications Commission would have written many of the most important rules. Within a little more than a year, all of the rules would be written. Of all of the different views that day of the future of the communications sector, few could have been based on an ever-growing FCC and unending court defeats. Surely, after years of close combat, the war to win the communications sector would move from Washington to Wall Street and Main Street.
For the first time since 1987, Americans watched financial reports with a sense of anxiety and woe. In no sector of the economy was the crisis of confidence greater than in telecommunications. No one knows exactly how much money was lost from the peak of the communications bubble in the first quarter of 2000 through the trough in the second half of 2002, but the blow was staggering. The losses were not just financial. Hundreds of thousands of employees lost their jobs. Those who kept them were shaken by the decline in the industry, the loss of equity value, and the ever-shrinking possibility of accumulating wealth in the industry.
The close relationship between AT&T and the government was not accidental. The government had set up much of the monopoly, prohibiting competition in the early part of the twentieth century. AT&T and “the phone company” were synonymous. 9 To end protracted litigation, in 1982 it entered with the Department of Justice into a consent decree, under whose terms it divested itself into eight companies: seven regional companies with local service assets such as switches, copper loops, and local customers; and the remaining assets—including long-distance services, international services, equipment manufacturing, and Bell Laboratories—under a company retaining the AT&T brand name.