Telecommunications Law and Legal Definition

Telecommunications law is governed to a large extent by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC is an independent United States government agency, directly responsible to Congress. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.

A branch of the FCC, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) handles nearly all FCC domestic wireless telecommunications programs, policies, and outreach initiatives. Wireless communications services include Amateur, Cellular, Paging, Broadband PCS, Public Safety, and more.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is the first major overhaul of telecommunications law in almost 62 years. The goal of this new law is to let anyone enter any communications business -- to let any communications business compete in any market against any other. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 affects telephone service -- local and long distance, cable programming and other video services, broadcast services and services provided to schools.