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Pub.L. 104-105 To amend the Farm Credit Act of 1971 to provide regulatory relief, and for other purposes. <> ...
TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996
[[Page 110 STAT. 56]]
Public Law 104-104
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
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
``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
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
Sec. 402. Biennial review of regulations; regulatory relief.
``Sec. 11. Regulatory reform.''
Sec. 403. Elimination of unnecessary Commission regulations and
TITLE V--OBSCENITY AND VIOLENCE
Subtitle A--Obscene, Harassing, and Wrongful Utilization of
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
``Sec. 641. Scrambling of sexually explicit adult video service
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
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
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
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
``(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
[[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
``(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
``(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
``(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
``(B) established or modified by a Bell operating
company after such date of enactment and approved by the
``(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,
[[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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104th Congressional Public Laws Records and Documents
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