The Telecommunications Act Makes an Impact on Utilities

The Telecommunications Act Makes an Impact on Utilities

On Feb. 8, 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The law adopts sweeping reforms to the Communications Act of 1934, impacting nearly every aspect of communications, and will require the Federal Communications Commission to initiate over 80 separate rulemakings.

The legislation ensures that all utilities and pipelines may participate in telecommunications. It lifts away much of the regulatory underbrush that has inhibited serious utility involvement in telecommunications, allows for strategic partnering and creates incentives for new alignments as all sectors of the communications industry converge. The law also protects utilities` internal communications systems, allows registered holding companies to diversify into telecommunications, and addresses fair recompense for pole attachments by cable companies and other telecommunications providers.

Investor-owned electric utilities have already begun entering into telecommunications activities. San Diego Gas & Electric, for example, teamed up with Phillips Home Services to rollout a video telephone service that will eventually serve 470,000 or more San Diego-area customers. Also, a division of the Southern Company signed an agreement with The Interactive Channel to provide interactive television services in Duluth, Ga. Several more utility telecommunications partnerships will be expected throughout the next year.

Author

  • The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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