- Companies cross their fingers as the clock switches to Jan. 1, 2000, hoping their Y2K planning was enough to avert disasters such as power blackouts and data losses, computer glitches or nuclear annihilation.
- With Y2K worries behind it, the FCC votes to allow the Bells to provide in-region long-distance services under Section 271 of the 1996 Telecom Act.
- On March 7, the tech-heavy Nasdaq passes the 5,000-point mark for the first time. But the dot-com bubble soon bursts; approximately 30 companies withdraw or postpone their IPOs.
- The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 on the World Trade Center in New York, in addition to being a defining moment of the decade, has vast implications for the vulnerability of the nation’s communications networks.
- WorldCom files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the largest such filing in U.S. history at the time.
- The FCC concludes that cable-modem service qualifies as an interstate information service and, therefore, isn’t subject to common carrier regulations such as contributing to the Universal Service Fund or opening networks to rivals.
- Qwest Communications International Inc. fires CEO Joe Nacchio amid allegations of more than $50 million in illegal insider trading.
- The Michael Powell-led FCC opens a proceeding to look at how to regulate VoIP services provided by companies such as Vonage and 8×8.
- In mid-December, Sprint and Nextel announce their $35 billion merger.
- WorldCom emerges from bankruptcy as MCI.
- The FCC eliminates the UNE-P resale platforms for CLECs. Competitive service providers are then forced to reach new commercial agreements with the Bells for access, with subsequent prices sometimes rising as much as 35 percent.
- In January, SBC announces it will buy AT&T for $16 billion. In February, after weeks of tussling with Qwest for MCI, Verizon announces its $6.7 billion takeover of the former WorldCom.
- Ed Whitacre, CEO of SBC, sparks the net neutrality debate with a statement to BusinessWeek that companies such as Google shouldn’t be allowed to use “his pipes … for free.”
- The FCC frees the Bell companies from obligations to make their DSL networks available to independent ISPs, reclassifying wireline broadband providers as information services, rather than telecommunications services.
- Qwest ignites a forbearing-filing frenzy among the LECs as the FCC grants it relief from unbundling obligations in the Omaha, Neb., market, citing intense competition.