On the day that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 had its 20th anniversary (on Feb. 8th), I was able to catch up with Precursor Group’s Scott Cleland, who used the occasion to call for an update of the Communications Act. Below attached is that video chat, as well as a transcript of the brief discussion.
Scott Cleland: We really need an update of the Communications Act. And the reason is is the FCC has come along and tried to modernize the 1934 Communications Act. And it really isn’t the FCC’s, or three Commissioners’ authority, to do that. They have arbitrarily modernized it in a crony-captalism way where they’ve picked winners and picked losers. And so, it’s a moving goalpost problem that causes tremendous legal problems, tremendous business problems. You know, it’s really created a mess. And Congress has to, at some point, step in and clean it up. We need to have a 21st Century Communications Act. Because the Internet operates nothing like the old telephone system. The whole thing is obsolete, and the longer it’s kept, the more it’s going to distort, disrupt and destroy the communications system in the United States. All throughout the economy, the Internet, and the 21st Century, and just a different economy require different laws. As things change, you update the law to meet existing circumstances. And then you create a law based on principles that can last. You don’t do it based on an assumption that when you legislate, that the world will always stay that way.