Telecom reform may be back in play on the Hill

The Internet rated only a footnote in the landmark 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act. Now, the Net is such serious business for the telecom industry that many lawmakers favor at least 'tinkering with' the 1996 act.

That's according to Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), who spoke this month at a Washington conference sponsored by the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee. Burns said he thinks the act needs rewriting after only nine years because technology is moving so much faster than in the past.

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said his Commerce Committee will undertake the reform work, but he is 'not exactly sure whether we should rewrite or amend the 1996 act.' The House also plans to move several telecom bills, Stevens said. The result will be to 'take care of technology as it evolves and not have to rewrite every five years.'

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