Date/Time: Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 6:00 – 8:15 p.m.

Online registration is now closed, however, onsite registration will be available. 

The FCBA Law Journal Committee will host a CLE on February 16, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:15 p.m. entitled “The 20th Anniversary of the Telecommunications Act of 1996: A Review.” This program will be held at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, 2020 K Street, NW, Washington, DC.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 became law 20 years ago, on February 8, 1996. The stated objective was to create a “pro-competitive, de-regulatory framework” for telecommunications in the United States of America. At the time, it was seen as a ground-breaking experiment because most of the world was still served by state-owned monopoly providers that were widely seen as providing outdated and costly services of poor quality. The development of competition for long-distance services in the U.S., particularly over the preceding decade, was seen as positive and hopes were high for even greater success in local markets. At this CLE, we will hear from some of the key players in the development of the Act and its implementation. The discussion will address the legal and policy issues at the time and their ongoing impact today.


6:00 – 6:05 p.m. Welcome and Introductions
Chris Wright, Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP; President, Federal Communications Bar Association

6:05 – 6:30 p.m. Reed Hundt
Mr. Hundt was the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 1993-1997 and in that capacity led the agency when the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was enacted and implemented in the ensuing 18 months. Mr. Hundt, who contributed an essay to the special issue of the Federal Communications Law Journal addressing the 1996 Act, will give his unique perspective on the genesis and implementation of the Act.

6:30 – 7:15 p.m. Lessons Learned: A Review of the Legal Approaches to Interconnection and Unbundling and the Resulting Evolution of Markets Domestically and Around the World
These two panelists have published articles in the most recent edition of the FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS LAW JOURNAL, which is a special symposium on the twentieth anniversary of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. From 1997 through 2001, Mr. Furchtgott-Roth served as a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. Before his appointment to the FCC, he was chief economist for the House Committee on Commerce and a principal staff member on the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He is the author of A Tough Act to Follow, a book about the difficulties implementing the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Harold’s article revisits those difficulties and offers some thoughts for the next effort to update our communications laws.

Prior to founding the Phoenix Center, Mr. Spiwak was a Senior Attorney with the Competition Division in the FCC’s Office of General Counsel from 1994-1998. Larry’s article outlines various lessons learned from the U.S. unbundling experience. Larry will also talk about his separate essay in the commemorative issue that details early efforts to promote utility entry into telecommunications markets.

Chris Wright, Partner, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP

Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and Founder and Director of the Center for the Economics of the Internet
Lawrence Spiwak, President, Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Public Policy Studies

7:15 – 7:30 p.m. Break

7:30 – 8:15 p.m. Policy and Legal Roundtable on the Drafting and Implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996
This panel will feature an in-depth discussion of the legal and policy issues involved in the development of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and its implementation. The panel participants held various key positions during those early years and each has published a short essay in the Twentieth Anniversary of the 1996 Act Symposium published by the Federal Communications Law Journal. Mr. Casserly was Senior Legal Advisor to Commissioner Susan Ness from 1993-97. Ms. Gomez held several leadership positions at the FCC and on the Hill from 1994-2006.  Mr. Thorne held senior legal positions and Bell Atlantic and Verizon in the 1980s-2000s.

Jeff Lanning, Vice President, CenturyLink

James Casserly, Partner, Willkie, Farr & Gallagher LLP
Anna Gomez, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP
John Thorne, Partner, Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, P.L.L.C.