When the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was signed into law, supporters proclaimed it would revolutionize the $200 billion a year telecommunications industry and put Americans at the threshold of the information super-highway of the 21 st century. Three years later, the Act has generated more controversy than progress. Among other things, there has been a Supreme Court challenge to the authority of the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC" or "Commission") to set the prices at which local exchange companies must lease their networks to new entrants; a federal court decision that the Act's restrictions on Bell Operating Companies create an unconstitutional "bill of attainder" (a decision overturned on appeal); and repeated FCC and U.S. Department of Justice denials of Bell Operating Company petitions to enter in-region, long-distance markets under section 271 of the Act.

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