The long-awaited transition to a competitive local telecommunications service market is mired down in regulatory and court proceedings that deal with the implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and proposed mergers among major players in the industry. Was the Telecommunications Act of 1996 a move in the right direction? Are any of the new sources of local competition — wireless, cable, electric competition — likely to be effective any time soon? What can/should the FCC do to accelerate competition in local service? Should the SBC/Ameritech and Bell Atlantic/GTE mergers be approved? A group of leading experts will discuss these and other key issues at a Brookings National Issues Forum.
“The 21st century has revalued these small geographies. That’s what the 21st century demands,” Katz said, noting that these days, “[w]e aren’t innovating in isolated business parks” in the suburbs.