COMPTEL originated in 1981 as the Association of Long Distance Telephone Companies (ALTEL) to promote competition with AT&T in the long distance market. In 1984, ALTEL merged with the American Council of Competitive Telecommunications (ACCT) and expanded its services to include local service providers, wireless communications companies and Internet service providers. At that time, the association's name was changed to the Competitive Telecommunications Association (COMPTEL). Then, in 1999, COMPTEL merged with America's Carriers Telecommunications Association (ACTA).
This merger was followed by the November 2003 union with the Association of Communications Enterprises (ASCENT). ASCENT was formed 1992 when the Telecommunications Marketing Association and the Interexchange Resellers Association merged to form the Telecommunications Resellers Association (TRA) in an entrepreneurial effort to promote switchless long distance resale. In November 1997, TRA merged with the National Wireless Resellers Association, creating a trade association designed to serve the entire telecommunications industry. In May 2000, TRA changed its name to ASCENT.
Most recently, in March 2005, the association merged with the Association for Local Telecommunications Services (ALTS). ALTS was created in 1987 to represent companies that build, own and operate competitive local networks.
As the leading association for competitive communications providers and their supplier partners, COMPTEL has long served as the strong, unified advocate for the industry’s interests before Congress, the White House and federal and state regulatory authorities. The association was a particularly effective lobbying force during the development and implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Through the mobilization of its membership, the association was instrumental in improving the language of the legislation in order to advance the interests of competitive telecommunications carriers. The association's most significant victory was ensuring that the Act included opportunities for its members to compete in the local telephone market through resale, the purchase of unbundled network elements, and/or facilities-based interconnection.
The association has spent the years since the Act's passage working to ensure that opportunities to provide competitive communications services become a reality. Entering today's new era of communications, COMPTEL is committed to ACTION – advocating for laws and regulations based on the principle of "Advancing Communications Through Innovation and Open Networks."
On March 21, the association incorporated as Association of Long Distance Telephone Companies (ALTEL), a group of very small resellers interested in promoting competition with AT&T.
IBM introduces the desktop personal computer.
On January 8, AT&T agrees to divest its local exchange service operating companies, settling an antitrust lawsuit, United States v. AT&T, initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice in 1974. Judge Harold H. Greene, of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, presided over the case.
January 30 to February 1, ALTEL hosts first annual meeting in New Orleans. William P. O’Reilly elected first Chairman of the Board; Jerry McAndrews becomes first President.
TexAlTel, the association’s first state affiliate, is created.
ALTEL hosts first educational conference in Woodcliff Lakes, N.J., in September.
ALTEL gains prominence after working with Reps. Dingell, Markey and Bryant to pass HR 4102, which rolled back access charge regime FCC was proposing to benefit AT&T.
TCP/IP is selected as the official protocol for the ARPANET.
First Commercial Cellular Service, provided by Chicago-based Ameritech, is launched using the Motorola DynaTAC mobile phone.
On January 1, unified Bell System officially splits into AT&T and seven independent Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs). This event unleashes a flood of technological advances for consumers and businesses, including the ability to choose and buy their own telephone equipment.
In November, ALTEL merges with the American Council of Competitive Telecommunications (ACCT) and expands its membership to include facilities-based carriers and other providers.
ALTEL changes its name to the Competitive Telecommunications Association (CompTel).
Teleport Communications Group, the first competitive access provider, is established in New York City.
Chicago Fiber Optics (later Metropolitan Fiber Systems, or MFS) installs fiber optic cable in Chicago’s system of unused coal tunnels.
Federal Judge Harold Greene upholds core restriction on RBOC long-distance entry, allowing competitive long distance industry to continue to grow.
The first transatlantic fiber optic cable is completed.
On Mother’s Day, Illinois Bell in Hinsdale County, outside of Chicago experiences a severe fire, leaving 35,000 people without phone service for extended periods. The event underscored the risks on a one-carrier system and its inherent bottlenecks.
CompTel membership expands to include local, wireless and enhanced service providers.
Fiber-to-the-home trials begin in Cerritos, Calif.
The FCC sets price cap regulation for AT&T.
Jim Smith becomes President of CompTel.
CompTel takes lead for competitive carriers in opposing wholesale FCC deregulation of AT&T in the “AT&T Dominance” proceeding.
August 6, 1991, the first Website goes online at CERN.
The Court of Appeals orders Judge Green to lift the ban on RBOC entry into information services.
Introduction of inexpensive Web browsers enable mass access to the World Wide Web.
The late Terrence Barnich, then Chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, issues a monograph entitled “Telecommunications Free Trade Zones,” which outlines the foundational tenets of local telecom competition.
CompTel forges informal coalition with AT&T, MCI and Sprint to resist RBOC legislative efforts to gain long distance entry while keeping their local monopolies.
Advances, such as Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), appear to support faster delivery of data via phone lines. Asymmetric DSL (ADSL) is standardized.
Internet service providers (ISPs) begin selling Internet via phone modem to growing computer networks throughout the globe.
Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) is established for reliable transmission over the Internet in conjunction with the Transport Control Protocol (TCP).
Bell Atlantic proposes merger with TCI.
Competitive Long Distance Coalition (CLDC) is founded by CompTel, AT&T, MCI, Sprint and LDDS Communications.
In an effort to standardize Internet practices, Tim Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at MIT.
Bell Atlantic’s proposed merger with TCI fails after negotiation deadlines are not met.
Former Sen. Howard Baker becomes Chairman of CLDC.
After President Clinton pledges to veto pro-RBOC legislation, CompTel and its members play pivotal role in gaining key pro-competitive provisions in Congressional bill revamping federal telecommunications law.
CompTel launches its state policy program.
On February 8, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 – which was designed to increase competition in all aspects of the communications market – is signed into law.
FCC implements 1996 Telecom Act with key pro-competitive competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) interconnection provisions sought by CompTel.
The World Wide Web begins to revolutionize commerce, creativity and communication.
Worldcom and MFS Communications merge to provide combined local and long distance services.
First CLEC Class 5 switch is purchased by Teleport Communications Group Inc.
CompTel launches its international policy program.
Genevieve Morelli, CompTel’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, steps in to serve as interim President.
SBC acquires Pacific Telesis.
Bell Atlantic acquires Nynex.
Ameritech and BellSouth file, under the Telecom Act of 1996, to provide long distance services within their service areas. Both companies are denied permission to do so based on the lack of competition in their local markets.
The RBOCs contest (and win) the FCCs authority on overseeing the opening of local telephone markets under the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
SBC wins a temporary victory when a Texas court rules that the Telecom Act of 1996 is anti-competitive by requiring the RBOCs to complete a series of steps to open their local markets while placing no such requirements on competitors (IXCs) wishing to enter the local markets.
The first interconnection agreement between a CLEC and an BOC is approved by Illinois Commerce Commission.
In Orange County, Calif., Cox Communications becomes the first cable company to install a Class 5 switch.
H. Russell Frisby, Jr., is named president and CEO of CompTel.
Lyle Patrick is elected Chairman of CompTel’s Board of Directors.
SBC acquires Southern New England Telephone (SNET) of Connecticut.
Bell Atlantic’s and Bell South's bids to enter the long distance market are denied.
CompTel merges with America’s Carriers Telecommunications Association (ACTA)
Jerry James is elected Chairman of CompTel’s Board of Directors.
SBC acquires Ameritech.
Worldcom acquires MCI.
Bell Atlantic becomes the first RBOC to be approved to offer inter-LATA long distance services to customers in New York.
Douglas H. Hanson is elected Chairman of CompTel’s Board of Directors.
COMPTEL begins honoring individuals who have supported communications industry competition with the Champion of Competition award. The first recipients are Rep. Thomas Bliley (R-Va.) and Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings (D-S.C.).
Bell Atlantic acquires GTE, combined company changes name to Verizon.
Qwest acquires U S West.
CompTel introduces the “Break the Bottleneck” campaign.
CompTel presents the Champions of Competition award to the Hon. William Baxter, former Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Division at the U.S. Department of Justice; Anne Bingaman, Chairman and CEO of Valor Telecom, LLC; Bernard Ebbers, President and CEO, WorldCom; Judge Harold Greene, U.S. District Court, Washington, D.C.; Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.); Bill McGowan, Chairman and CEO of MCI Communications Corp.; Alan Peyser, Co-founder and Chairman of Simplexity; Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska); and Roy A. Wilkens, President and CEO of McLeodUSA Network & Data Services Operations.
Richard Burk is elected Chairman of CompTel’s Board of Directors.
CompTel honors Ambassador Kathryn Linda Haycock Proffitt, former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta and founder, former President and CEO of Call-America with the Champions of Competition award.
CompTel introduces The Connection, a weekly e-newsletter.
In March, the FCC declares cable modem service to be an interstate information service which does not involve a separate offering of telecommunications service.
CompTel merges with the Association of Communications Enterprises (ASCENT), an association formed originally in 1992 as the Telecommunications Resellers Association (TRA), which adopted the ASCENT name in May 2000.
Vice President Al Gore delivers the keynote address at CompTel/ASCENT Fall Convention.
COMPTEL honors Rep. Charles “Chip” Pickering Jr. (R-Miss.) and H. Brian Thompson, Chairman of Comsat International and former Chairman and CEO of LCI International with the Champions of Competition award.
FCC adopts Triennial Review Order on Aug. 21.
J. Sherman Henderson III is elected Chairman of CompTel’s Board of Directors.
CompTel honors FCC Commissioner Kevin J. Martin and George Vinall, Executive Vice President of Business Development at Talk America, with the Champions of Competition award.
CompTel merges with the Association for Local Telecommunications Services (ALTS), which was created in 1987 to represent companies that build, own and operate competitive local communications networks.
Drew Walker is named interim CEO of CompTel.
Earl Comstock is named president and CEO of CompTel.
SBC Communications acquires AT&T Corp., changes name of combined entity to AT&T.
COMPTEL honors the Hon. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-Wis.), Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary, with the Champions of Competition award.
AT&T acquires BellSouth.
Verizon acquires MCI.
Jerry James is named CEO of COMPTEL.
COMPTEL takes over reigns of Free to Compete Website.
Matt Salmon, former U.S. Congressman from Arizona, joins COMPTEL as the association’s President.
COMPTEL introduces Members Only Web portal.
COMPTEL launches upgraded Career Center.
Joe Ambersley is elected Chairman of COMPTEL’s Board of Directors.
The FCC’s much-hyped 700-MHz spectrum auction closed after nearly eight weeks of continuous bidding with $19.6 billion in bids.
The U.S. Supreme Court announces that it will hear the case FCC v. AT&T, about corporate personal privacy, which stemmed from a FOIA request at the FCC filed by COMPTEL in 1995.
March 1, the Supreme Court rules 8-0 in COMPTEL’s favor in FCC v. AT&T.
COMPTEL celebrates 30th anniversary at the COMPTEL PLUS Spring 2011 Convention & EXPO in Las Vegas.
Dale Schmick, chief strategy officer at YourTel America Inc., is elected Chairman of the COMPTEL Board of Directors.
New COMPTEL and COMPTEL PLUS websites, designed for improved usability on mobile devices, debut.
Policy advocacy efforts achieve positive results in Qwest forbearance, lifeline reform, cable-CLEC mergers and VoIP outage reporting.
COMPTEL PLUS Mobile Access Planner app is launched.
Angie Kronenberg joins COMPTEL as chief advocate and general counsel.
COMPTEL CEO Jerry James testifies before Senate Commerce Committee on the “State of Wireline Communications.”
COMPTEL takes lead in policy advocacy efforts on technology transitions, last mile access, copper retirement, special access and rural call completion.
COMPTEL partners with UNITEL to offer member companies life/disability insurance packages and HR advisory services.
Jerry James steps down in December after more than six years as COMPTEL CEO.
Former Rep. Chip Pickering takes helm as CEO of COMPTEL.
COMPTEL hosts “Customers, Competition and the 1996 Telecom Act” at the Library of Congress, bringing together a bipartisan group of current and former members of Congress, consumer advocates, broadband provider CEOs and customers to showcase the enduring benefits of competition.
COMPTEL proposes core principles to guide technology transitions, which were adopted by the FCC when it opened proceedings on tech transition trials in February.
TSI CEO Deb Ward is elected as first female Chairman of the COMPTEL Board of Directors.
COMPTEL membership expands to include social media leaders, content providers, wireless companies, Internet giants, international powerhouses, start-ups and venture capitalists.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler delivers keynote address at COMPTEL PLUS, laying out his agenda for competition.
COMPTEL successfully advocates for reclassification of retail broadband Internet services as a telecommunications service in the fight to preserve an open Internet.
COMPTEL co-founds and helps launch the Internet Freedom Business Alliance, a coalition of startups, small businesses and tech companies advocating for strong, enforceable rules to protect the open Internet.
In February, COMPTEL brings together leaders from the FCC, Congress, advocacy organizations, service providers and edge companies, to address critical issues facing the communications industry during its “Competition and Innovation Policy Summit” at the Newseum.
COMPTEL successfully works with a variety of like-minded organizations and consumers groups to prevent the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger.
COMPTEL officially changes organization name to INCOMPAS.