Deregulation: Bonanza Or Bust?

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 vowed to break up communications monopolies and spark competition. Here's how you can take advantage of a multibillion dollar industry.

put his name on the FCC mailing list for industry updates. To add your name to the list, contact the FCC, Office of Communications Business Opportunities at 202-418-0990.

There are a number of telecommunications publications you can find at your local library, including Telephony Magazine, America’s Network and Communications News.
Small business owners should also take courses to strengthen their knowledge of the industry, advises Conley. “There are colleges and universities that have telecommunications masters and undergraduate programs, so you can take introductory telecommunications classes to get an overview of the business,” she says.

Network, network, network. There are few minorities in the telecommunications field, so networking is crucial. To make contacts, attend seminars and conferences.
You should also join a telecommunications organization. The National Association of Black Telecommunications Professionals (NABTP) is a 1,500-member organization that represents small independent telecommunications companies, interexchange carriers, (i.e., Sprint, AT&T) and employees of small, medium and large telecom companies. Each year NABTP holds a four-day conference to discuss the issues surrounding the telecommunications industry. This year’s conference is scheduled for April 1-5 in Washington, D.C. For more information call 800-946-6228.

Find start-up capital. There are a number of funding sources, outside of the traditional bank loan, that you can use to finance your business. Contact the TDF for more information about the fund. Also check with organizations such as NABTP and the Small Business Administration for alternative methods of financing (see “5 Alternative Ways to Finance Your Business,” March issue).
Contact corporate procurement departments.

Most large telecommunications companies have special programs targeted to minority- and women-owned firms. Contact the company’s procurement officer for information about their needs and to discuss the products and/or services you can provide.

Bell Atlantic is just one of many corporations that have programs to help minority- and women-owned firms secure contacts. Call Bell Atlantic’s office of Diversified Supplier Relations for more information, 800-445-0325. request a copy of Doing Business with Bell Atlantic, a pamphlet that explains the kinds of services purchased.

Steven Bradley and Gerard Adams joined forces to bid for PCS licenses which will be Used to link cell phones, pages and other wireless products

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