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                     TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996

[[Page 110 STAT. 56]]

Public Law 104-104
104th Congress

                                 An Act


 
 To promote competition and reduce regulation in order to secure lower 
   prices and higher quality services for American telecommunications 
 consumers and encourage the rapid deployment of new telecommunications 
            technologies. <<NOTE: Feb. 8, 1996 -  [S. 652]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress 
assembled, <<NOTE: Telecommunications Act of 1996. Intergovernmental 
relations.>> 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; REFERENCES.

    (a) <<NOTE: 47 USC 609 note.>>  Short Title.--This Act may be cited 
as the ``Telecommunications Act of 1996''.

    (b) References.--Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in 
this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment 
to, or repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be 
considered to be made to a section or other provision of the 
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 151 et seq.).

SEC. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; references.
Sec. 2. Table of contents.
Sec. 3. Definitions.

                   TITLE I--TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICES

                 Subtitle A--Telecommunications Services

Sec. 101. Establishment of part II of title II.

              ``Part II--Development of Competitive Markets

        ``Sec. 251. Interconnection.
        ``Sec. 252. Procedures for negotiation, arbitration, and 
                            approval of agreements.
        ``Sec. 253. Removal of barriers to entry.
        ``Sec. 254. Universal service.
        ``Sec. 255. Access by persons with disabilities.
        ``Sec. 256. Coordination for interconnectivity.
        ``Sec. 257. Market entry barriers proceeding.
        ``Sec. 258. Illegal changes in subscriber carrier selections.
        ``Sec. 259. Infrastructure sharing.
        ``Sec. 260. Provision of telemessaging service.
        ``Sec. 261. Effect on other requirements.''
Sec. 102. Eligible telecommunications carriers.
Sec. 103. Exempt telecommunications companies.
Sec. 104. Nondiscrimination principle.

   Subtitle B--Special Provisions Concerning Bell Operating Companies

Sec. 151. Bell operating company provisions.

   ``PART III--SPECIAL PROVISIONS CONCERNING BELL OPERATING COMPANIES

        ``Sec. 271. Bell operating company entry into interLATA 
                            services.
        ``Sec. 272. Separate affiliate; safeguards.

[[Page 110 STAT. 57]]

        ``Sec. 273. Manufacturing by Bell operating companies.
        ``Sec. 274. Electronic publishing by Bell operating companies.
        ``Sec. 275. Alarm monitoring services.
        ``Sec. 276. Provision of payphone service.''

                      TITLE II--BROADCAST SERVICES

Sec. 201. Broadcast spectrum flexibility.
        ``Sec. 336. Broadcast spectrum flexibility.''
Sec. 202. Broadcast ownership.
Sec. 203. Term of licenses.
Sec. 204. Broadcast license renewal procedures.
Sec. 205. Direct broadcast satellite service.
Sec. 206. Automated ship distress and safety systems.
        ``Sec. 365. Automated ship distress and safety systems.''
Sec. 207. Restrictions on over-the-air reception devices.

                        TITLE III--CABLE SERVICES

Sec. 301. Cable Act reform.
Sec. 302. Cable service provided by telephone companies.

  ``Part V--Video Programming Services Provided by Telephone Companies

        ``Sec. 651. Regulatory treatment of video programming services.
        ``Sec. 652. Prohibition on buy outs.
        ``Sec. 653. Establishment of open video systems.''
Sec. 303. Preemption of franchising authority regulation of 
           telecommunications services.
Sec. 304. Competitive availability of navigation devices.
        ``Sec. 629. Competitive availability of navigation devices.''
Sec. 305. Video programming accessibility.
        ``Sec. 713. Video programming accessibility.''

                       TITLE IV--REGULATORY REFORM

Sec. 401. Regulatory forbearance.
        ``Sec. 10. Competition in provision of telecommunications 
                            service.''
Sec. 402. Biennial review of regulations; regulatory relief.
        ``Sec. 11. Regulatory reform.''
Sec. 403. Elimination of unnecessary Commission regulations and 
           functions.

                     TITLE V--OBSCENITY AND VIOLENCE

      Subtitle A--Obscene, Harassing, and Wrongful Utilization of 
                      Telecommunications Facilities

Sec. 501. Short title.
Sec. 502. Obscene or harassing use of telecommunications facilities 
           under the Communications Act of 1934.
Sec. 503. Obscene programming on cable television.
Sec. 504. Scrambling of cable channels for nonsubscribers.
        ``Sec. 640. Scrambling of cable channels for nonsubscribers.''
Sec. 505. Scrambling of sexually explicit adult video service 
           programming.
        ``Sec. 641. Scrambling of sexually explicit adult video service 
                            programming.''
Sec. 506. Cable operator refusal to carry certain programs.
Sec. 507. Clarification of current laws regarding communication of 
           obscene materials through the use of computers.
Sec. 508. Coercion and enticement of minors.
Sec. 509. Online family empowerment.
        ``Sec. 230. Protection for private blocking and screening of 
                            offensive material.''

                          Subtitle B--Violence

Sec. 551. Parental choice in television programming.
Sec. 552. Technology fund.

                       Subtitle C--Judicial Review

Sec. 561. Expedited review.

                     TITLE VI--EFFECT ON OTHER LAWS

Sec. 601. Applicability of consent decrees and other law.
Sec. 602. Preemption of local taxation with respect to direct-to-home 
           services.

                   TITLE VII--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Sec. 701. Prevention of unfair billing practices for information or 
           services provided over toll-free telephone calls.

[[Page 110 STAT. 58]]

Sec. 702. Privacy of customer information.
        ``Sec. 222. Privacy of customer information.''
Sec. 703. Pole attachments.
Sec. 704. Facilities siting; radio frequency emission standards.
Sec. 705. Mobile services direct access to long distance carriers.
Sec. 706. Advanced telecommunications incentives.
Sec. 707. Telecommunications Development Fund.
        ``Sec. 714. Telecommunications Development Fund.''
Sec. 708. National Education Technology Funding Corporation.
Sec. 709. Report on the use of advanced telecommunications services for 
           medical purposes.
Sec. 710. Authorization of appropriations.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    (a) Additional Definitions.--Section 3 (47 U.S.C. 153) is amended--
            (1) in subsection (r)--
                    (A) by inserting ``(A)'' after ``means''; and
                    (B) by inserting before the period at the end the 
                following: ``, or (B) comparable service provided 
                through a system of switches, transmission equipment, or 
                other facilities (or combination thereof) by which a 
                subscriber can originate and terminate a 
                telecommunications service''; and
            (2) by adding at the end thereof the following:
            ``(33) Affiliate.--The term `affiliate' means a person that 
        (directly or indirectly) owns or controls, is owned or 
        controlled by, or is under common ownership or control with, 
        another person. For purposes of this paragraph, the term `own' 
        means to own an equity interest (or the equivalent thereof) of 
        more than 10 percent.
            ``(34) AT&T consent decree.--The term `AT&T Consent Decree' 
        means the order entered August 24, 1982, in the antitrust action 
        styled United States v. Western Electric, Civil Action No. 82-
        0192, in the United States District Court for the District of 
        Columbia, and includes any judgment or order with respect to 
        such action entered on or after August 24, 1982.
            ``(35) Bell operating company.--The term `Bell operating 
        company'--
                    ``(A) means any of the following companies: Bell 
                Telephone Company of Nevada, Illinois Bell Telephone 
                Company, Indiana Bell Telephone Company, Incorporated, 
                Michigan Bell Telephone Company, New England Telephone 
                and Telegraph Company, New Jersey Bell Telephone 
                Company, New York Telephone Company, U S West 
                Communications Company, South Central Bell Telephone 
                Company, Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company, 
                Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, The Bell Telephone 
                Company of Pennsylvania, The Chesapeake and Potomac 
                Telephone Company, The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone 
                Company of Maryland, The Chesapeake and Potomac 
                Telephone Company of Virginia, The Chesapeake and 
                Potomac Telephone Company of West Virginia, The Diamond 
                State Telephone Company, The Ohio Bell Telephone 
                Company, The Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, or 
                Wisconsin Telephone Company; and
                    ``(B) includes any successor or assign of any such 
                company that provides wireline telephone exchange 
                service; but

[[Page 110 STAT. 59]]

                    ``(C) does not include an affiliate of any such 
                company, other than an affiliate described in 
                subparagraph (A) or (B).
            ``(36) Cable service.--The term `cable service' has the 
        meaning given such term in section 602.
            ``(37) Cable system.--The term `cable system' has the 
        meaning given such term in section 602.
            ``(38) Customer premises equipment.--The term `customer 
        premises equipment' means equipment employed on the premises of 
        a person (other than a carrier) to originate, route, or 
        terminate telecommunications.
            ``(39) Dialing parity.--The term `dialing parity' means that 
        a person that is not an affiliate of a local exchange carrier is 
        able to provide telecommunications services in such a manner 
        that customers have the ability to route automatically, without 
        the use of any access code, their telecommunications to the 
        telecommunications services provider of the customer's 
        designation from among 2 or more telecommunications services 
        providers (including such local exchange carrier).
            ``(40) Exchange access.--The term `exchange access' means 
        the offering of access to telephone exchange services or 
        facilities for the purpose of the origination or termination of 
        telephone toll services.
            ``(41) Information service.--The term `information service' 
        means the offering of a capability for generating, acquiring, 
        storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilizing, or 
        making available information via telecommunications, and 
        includes electronic publishing, but does not include any use of 
        any such capability for the management, control, or operation of 
        a telecommunications system or the management of a 
        telecommunications service.
            ``(42) Interlata service.--The term `interLATA service' 
        means telecommunications between a point located in a local 
        access and transport area and a point located outside such area.
            ``(43) Local access and transport area.--The term `local 
        access and transport area' or `LATA' means a contiguous 
        geographic area--
                    ``(A) established before the date of enactment of 
                the Telecommunications Act of 1996 by a Bell operating 
                company such that no exchange area includes points 
                within more than 1 metropolitan statistical area, 
                consolidated metropolitan statistical area, or State, 
                except as expressly permitted under the AT&T Consent 
                Decree; or
                    ``(B) established or modified by a Bell operating 
                company after such date of enactment and approved by the 
                Commission.
            ``(44) Local exchange carrier.--The term `local exchange 
        carrier' means any person that is engaged in the provision of 
        telephone exchange service or exchange access. Such term does 
        not include a person insofar as such person is engaged in the 
        provision of a commercial mobile service under section 332(c), 
        except to the extent that the Commission finds that such service 
        should be included in the definition of such term.
            ``(45) Network element.--The term `network element' means a 
        facility or equipment used in the provision of a 
        telecommunications service. Such term also includes features, 
        func

[[Page 110 STAT. 60]]

        tions, and capabilities that are provided by means of such 
        facility or equipment, including subscriber numbers, databases, 
        signaling systems, and information sufficient for billing and 
        collection or used in the transmission, routing, or other 
        provision of a telecommunications service.
            ``(46) Number portability.--The term `number portability' 
        means the ability of users of telecommunications services to 
        retain, at the same location, existing telecommunications 
        numbers without impairment of quality, reliability, or 

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