From the Fall of the Bell System to the Telecommunications Act: Regulation of Telecommunications Under Judge Greene
79 Pages Posted: 1 May 2012
Date Written: August 1999
This article presents a comprehensive scholarly treatment of Judge Harold H. Greene’s administration of the 1982 consent decree by which the Regional Bell Operating Companies ('RBOC') were prohibited from long-distance and certain other lines of business in the telecommunications industry. Part I reviews the basic facts surrounding the entry of the consent decree, known as the Modification of Final Judgment ('MFJ'), and the structural separation it imposed on the Bell System. Part II discusses the administration of the MFJ in the first several years after the January 1, 1984 divestiture, including Judge Greene’s procedures for RBOC requests for relief and the Department of Justice’s ongoing role in administering the MFJ. Part III focuses on the ensuing massive struggle among the parties to the MFJ and other industry players over whether the line-of-business restrictions should be removed, a struggle that took the form of the so-called 'triennial review' spearheaded by the DOJ. Part IV provides a brief overview of the litigation that arose in the aftermath of the D.C. Circuit’s 1990 triennial review ruling and describes the RBOCs’ ultimately successful effort to get out of Judge Greene’s courtroom. Judge Greene terminated the MFC after the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, legislation which retained several of the MFJ’s restrictions. Part V synthesizes the foregoing account into a comprehensive assessment of Judge Greene’s administration of the MFJ.
Keywords: telecommunications, regulated industries, modification of final judgment, Judge Harold Greene
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
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