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Forbearance is the Federal Communications Commission’s obligation under section 10 of the Communications Act of 1934 to refrain from applying provisions of the Act if it determines that the public interest requires restraint. The Commission’s decisions to forbear are not easily reversed, and the Commission has in fact never reversed a decision to forbear.
In 1996, Congress directed the FCC to use its forbearance power to “encourage the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans.” This authority allows the Commission to narrowly tailor its rules to new technologies and evolving markets.