CONTACT: Sallianne Fortunato
COMMERCE MOVES TO SPEED-UP ACCESS TO
SERVICES TO ALL AMERICANS
Washington, D.C. - The Commerce Department today proposed a framework for easing many government restrictions on local phone companies that offer advanced services, as part of the Clinton Administration's continued effort to speed up the access to such services by all Americans.
In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission, the Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, agreed with a tentative FCC conclusion that local phone companies should be allowed to offer advanced telecommunications services to customers on a largely unregulated basis if they provide such services through separate affiliates. In addition, NTIA proposed several specific steps to ensure that a local exchange company operates independently of its parent and that a local company receive equipment, facilities and services from its parent firm on the same terms as other competitors.
"Today's filing continues the Administration's efforts to accelerate the deployment of advanced broadband services by increasing competition," Larry Irving, head of NTIA said. "It is one more step in the Administration's efforts to bring the rapid deployment of advanced telecommunications services to all Americans," he said.
NTIA also recommends that the FCC should grant an ILEC affiliate regulatory relief as soon as the affiliate certifies its compliance with the applicable separation conditions and the ILEC demonstrates that it is making essential facilities (notably, local loops and central office collocation space) available to alternative carriers on a reasonable, timely, and nondiscriminatory basis.
NTIA further recommends changes in the FCC's existing rules and policies to ensure that local loops and collocation space will be more readily available to competitors than is the case today. In particular, NTIA encourages the FCC to establish a process by which ILEC information about loop availability and collocation space can be provided more quickly and more broadly to competitors. Such information will speed the deployment of broadband services by enabling ILECs and competitors to determine better what services are possible, which potential customers can be served, and at what cost.
Five years ago, the Administration outlined a telecommunications policy reform initiative and the Vice President set forth a vision of an advanced telecommunications and information infrastructure. Many of the key principles were embodied in the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
For a copy of the letter, please call Sallianne Fortunato, NTIA Public Affairs, at 202-482-7002, or visit NTIA's home page at http://www.ntia.doc.gov. NTIA serves as the principal adviser to the Executive Branch on domestic and international telecommunications and information issues.
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