The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

It Isn’t 1996 Anymore

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


The year was 1996.  Bill Clinton was in the White House; scientists reported that there might be life on Mars; Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal, was born; the T.V. hospital show E.R. topped the Neilsen’s ratings long before the “McDreamies” and “McSteamies” of the world entered onto the scene; the Simpsons became the longest running prime-time animated series; people were dancing to the Macarena; and on February 8, 1996, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was enacted. Today’s communications landscape is far different than it was in 1996:  cell phones for average consumer use were few, cable providers offered limited channels, and the Internet was typically accessed through a dial up modem.  Among the fastest growing industries, the telecommunications sector now provides voice, video, and Internet services to users around the globe.  Consumers have the ability to connect with each another using new technologies not even dreamed about in 1996, walking around with the equivalent of a computer that fits in the palm of their hand. Yet, despite the innovations in technology and telecommunications, the industry is still hampered by laws and regulations that have not kept pace.  It is time to revisit the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and provide forward thinking reforms that will allow for continued growth in new ways of communicating.

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