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Democracy & Technology Blog Judiciary Committee wants piece of telecom action

The more dynamic and fractured the telecom industry gets, the more that the House Judiciary Committee, responsible for antitrust enforcement, is inclined to think about the subject. The Committee passed a resolution Mar. 15th creating a special Task Force, which will expire Oct. 1, 2006, to gather evidence and take testimony from prophets of gloom and doom and firms seeking regulated advantages in the marketplace. Just what the country needs.
Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.) circulated a memo to the Committee’s membership noting that the Committee and the antitrust laws “have played a critical role in fostering competition in the telecommunications industry” but apparently not good enough because “[a]fter ten years, many of the broad deregulatory and pro-competitive goals of the 1996 Act have yet to be realized.”
Antitrust, a product of the industrial age, is only tangentially responsible for competition in telecommunicatons. Technology made competition possible and inevitable. The 1996 Act was an antitrust nirvana. It allowed regulators to tinker with regulation and to pick winners and losers in the name promoting competition, and we all know where that got us.

Hance Haney

Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project
Hance Haney served as Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, in Washington, D.C. Haney spent ten years as an aide to former Senator Bob Packwood (OR), and advised him in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the deliberations leading to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He subsequently held various positions with the United States Telecom Association and Qwest Communications. He earned a B.A. in history from Willamette University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.