Ten Years Ago

Benton's Communications-related headlines has been keeping subscribers up-to-date on the developments in communications policy for over ten years. Occasionally, we look back ten years to see what we were covering "back in the day."

What does AT&T buying DirecTV mean for consumers? A whole lot of bundling

AT&T, 208 South Akard St, Dallas, TX, 75202, United States

We won’t see the first AT&T-DirecTV wireless-broadband-satellite service package until the summer of 2015 -- assuming the deal goes through. But what would such a bundle look like?

How the AOL-Time Warner Merger Went So Wrong


A Q&A with Steve Case and Gerald Levin. A decade ago, America Online merged with Time Warner in a deal valued at a stunning $350 billion. It was then, and is now, the largest merger in American business history.

How the Internet Changed Writing in the 2000s


With so much discussion about how the Internet is changing journalism and media, there's surprisingly little said about how writing itself has transformed.

What A Difference A Decade Makes


The worst economic downturn since the Great Depression had the greatest impact on the television station business over the first decade of this century.

In 10 Years, Hours Spent on Internet Almost Doubled


Adult Internet users were spending close to 13 hours a week online in 2009; in comparison, U.S. adults used the Internet for about seven hours a week in 1999.

Time capsule: The Rough Guide to the Internet... from 1999


1999 was in some ways a simpler time, a bygone era in which a leading Internet guidebook's first page could open with the question: "Okay, what's this Internet good for?"...

Wikipedia, iPhone among decade's top 10 Internet moments


According to the Webby awards, here's the 10 most influential Internet moments of the decade...

Viacom-CBS 10 Years Later


It was 10 years ago that Sumner Redstone and Mel Karmazin unveiled the $36-billion marriage of their respective companies, Viacom and CBS.

Assessing Napster - 10 years later


When 18-year-old Shawn Fanning released his Napster file-sharing program on the Internet 10 years ago this month, little did he know he was unleashing a digital revolution that would continue today.

Ten Years Ago Today... Clinton says all classrooms to be wired by 2000


Ten Years Ago Today...

In early March 1999, President Bill pledged to have 100% of the nations public classrooms connected by the year 2000. At the time, the E-rate discounts had committed $1.66 billion in aid to schools around the nation, but were under attack from Republican leaders who would like to see major cut backs or elimination of technology funding to schools and libraries.

Ten Years After Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Electronics Companies Regret Supporting Law


Consumer electronics manufacturers and owners of intellectual property offered divergent views of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 10 years after its passage.

Ten Years Ago: Digital Millennium Copyright Act


FCC Approves MCI-WORLDCOM Merger


Ten years ago, the Federal Communications Commission conditionally approved WorldCom's purchase of MCI, removing the last hurdle for completion of the deal. In an unanimous vote, with Commissioner Gloria Tristani dissenting in part, the FCC placed two conditions on the merger: 1) MCI had to complete the sale of its Internet assets to Cable & Wireless before completing the merger; and 2) the transfer of MCI's direct broadcast satellite (DBS) license to WorldCom was subject to the outcome of then-pending applications for review of the license that was granted to MCI.

Regional Bells Lose an Appeal Over Service


Ten years ago, the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans voted 2-1 to reverse a ruling that would have allowed SBC, US West, and Bell Atlantic to enter the long distance market.

Faced with 'Convergence', FCC Takes Closer Look at Internet Access Via cable


Ten years ago, the Federal Communications Commission was asking, "Is Internet over cable a 'cable service,' a 'telecommunications service' or an 'information service'?" A working paper released by the FCC began to address this question and how the agency should approach regulation.

Ten Years Ago... Whitacre Carves Out SBC Empire

"Our stockholders own the local phone network -- lock, stock, and barrel. Now here comes the FCC, saying, 'we'll let everybody else lease that network at a 70 percent discount.' They expect us to tank our stockholders. No way."

Ten Years Ago... Hundt Criticizes AT&T-SBC Deal and DTV Plan

Ten years ago this week, then-FCC Chairman reed Hundt declared that a proposed merge between AT&T and SBC would be "unthinkable" under antitrust laws. He also criticized House and Senate reconciliation bills that would allow broadcasters to hold on to additional spectrum until
less than 5% of US homes are using analog TV sets.

Ten Years Ago... TV Broadcasters Gain Ground in Effort To Delay Return of Licenses for Auction

Ten years ago, the House Commerce Committee adopted a provision that would let television broadcasters keep their second spectrum licenses -- for the digital television transition -- beyond the FCC's 2006 deadline in areas where 5% or more of households continued to rely solely on over-the-air analog TV signals.

Ten Years Ago... Murdoch Set To Buy Family Cable Concern

Ten years ago, Rupert Murdoch -- the man whose Fox Network brought to television the risque ''Married . . . With Children,'' the nihilistic series ''The Simpsons'' and the violent children's program ''Mighty Morphin Power Rangers'' -- agreed to pay $1.9 billion to acquire the cable channel controlled by Pat Robertson.

Ten Years Ago... Monopolies Still Rule the Local Phone Markets

Sixteen months after the Government opened the $100 billion local phone market to no-holds-barred competition, a new study found that fewer than half of 1 percent of Americans receive their residential phone service from a competitor to the monopoly provider. Moreover, the most likely rivals to the local monopolies -- AT&T, MCI, and other long-distance carriers -- were entering the residential market only grudgingly, according to the study, which was compiled by the Yankee Group. Of the 97 million households in the United States with a telephone in 1997, the study estimated that fewer than 500,000 were getting the service from a company other than their local monopoly. Even three years out, the study predicted the incumbent carriers will retain 90 percent of the market.

Ten Years Ago... Two Companies Go Head to Head to Develop Pay Satellite Radio

Ten years ago, two DC companies were vying to provide digital audio radio service or pay-for-play radio.

Ten Years Ago... So Far, Murdoch's Bid To Enter Satellite TV In U.S. Goes Nowhere

Ten years ago, Rupert Murdoch had cornered the satellite TV market in Asia and Europe and had start up companies in Latin America. But the US market was not falling into his lap.

Court Says Congressman Must Pay Damages

No, this isn't a "Ten Years Ago" feature... A federal appeals court in Washington ruled Tuesday that Rep Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington, must pay damages to another congressman for giving reporters a tape of an illegally intercepted telephone call.

Ten Years Ago... Research Finds Media Show Women Preoccupied with Romance

Ten years ago, Children Now released research showing that across a broad range of media, in films, in television, including commercials, and in magazines for teen-agers, women are more likely to be shown preoccupied with romance and personal appearance than they are having jobs or going to school.

Ten Years Ago... Bell Partners' Next Hurdle Is Credibility

Ten years ago this week, Bell Atlantic and Nynex completed a regulatory steeplechase when the Justice Department announced it would not try to block their $22 billion merger.

Ten Years Ago: FCC Auction Falls Flat

Ten years ago, the WSJ reported that television broadcasters were thrilled because the FCC's latest round of spectrum auctions was not going all that well. Broadcasters wanted the auctions to be unsuccessfully because it would increase their chances of being able to hold on to their analog television channels longer. (Ten years later, they still have the spectrum for another two years.)

Ten Years Ago... Gingrich Attacks Press as Out of Touch

Ten years ago, then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), who was facing heavy criticism in the press of his ethics record, leveled a brief but blistering attack on the news media and suggested that advertisers should use their financial clout to demand change.

Ten Years Ago... Critics Say New Jersey Phone Plan Shuns Poor

Ten years ago, New Jersey's Ratepayer Advocate noted that in the five years since Bell Atlantic had promised to wire every home and business in New Jersey with fiber optic cable, the company had hooked up suburban business parks and large corporations and set a schedule for suburban neighborhoods, but had not yet made specific plans for the thousands of poor people who live in the state's largest cities.

Ten Years Ago... Giving Away the Airwaves

Ten years ago, then former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) decried the giveaway of valuable spectrum in order to help broadcast TV stations transition to digital technology. "The broadcasters insist that they need these airwaves -- on which they will duplicate their programming in digital -- to make the transition to high-definition television. O.K., but why not pay a fair price?" Dole wrote.

Ten Years Ago... Digital Tornado

Ten years ago, the FCC released a staff-written Working Paper on the potential challenges and questions raised by the Internet for policy makers. This paper addresses three overlapping telecommunications policy areas that relate to the Internet: 1) Promote competition in voice, video, and interactive services. 2) Facilitate network investment and technological innovation. 3) Allow all citizens to benefit from advanced technologies.

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