Navigating the Turbulent Seas of 21st Century Markets in a 20th Century Boat: How to Keep the Winds of Regulation from Creating a Perfect Storm.
Harisha Bastiampillai, Senior Attorney, Qwest Law Department, USA
If regulation is the raison d’être of the regulatory counsel, then positive regulatory change is its joie de vivre. In fact, deregulation to a regulatory counsel is somewhat like a sunny day to a weatherperson; while he may not have forecasted it, he will certainly reap the benefits of it. But conversely, the gloomy pall of an unexpected negative regulatory development will focus ire on the counsel from the impacted part of the company; again regardless of the forecast. The years since the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (“1996 Act”) have been quite turbulent for incumbent local exchange carriers’ (“ILECs”) regulatory counsel. These counsel have had to navigate their companies through mandatory unbundling of virtually their entire networks, application for entry into the long distance market (for Bell Operating Companies), and deregulation of broadband. And just when it seemed that some certainty could be ascribed to broadband regulation, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) is intimating that it is considering reversing course on its treatment of broadband.
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