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Federal Communications Commission
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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

Report No. CC 98-3COMMON CARRIER ACTION February 4, 1998


(CC Docket No. 97-231)

In an Order released today, the Commission denied BellSouth's application to provide long distance service originating in the State of Louisiana. In denying the application, the Commission found that, in several respects, BellSouth's Louisiana application is materially indistinguishable from its application to provide long distance service in South Carolina, which the Commission recently denied.

BellSouth filed its application to provide long distance service in Louisiana on November 6, 1997, pursuant to section 271 of the Communications Act. Under that section, a Bell Operating Company (BOC) that applies for authority to offer in-region long distance service must show that it has fully implemented a 14-point competitive checklist, which enables BOC competitors to connect with and gain access to elements of the local network. The Commission concluded that BellSouth's Louisiana application failed to meet two aspects of the competitive checklist that it also failed to meet in its South Carolina application.

First, BellSouth failed to demonstrate that it provides to competing carriers nondiscriminatory access to its operations support systems (OSS). OSS refers to a variety of systems that enable a local telephone company to provide services to its customers, such as pre-ordering and ordering, installation, repair and maintenance, and billing. Competitors that resell a BOC's local telephone services or lease elements of the BOC's telephone network to provide local service are dependent on access to a BOC's OSS to provide a level of local service to their customers comparable to that which the BOC provides. BellSouth's OSS is a region-wide system, deployed throughout BellSouth's nine-state territory. The Commission reviewed BellSouth's OSS functions when it evaluated BellSouth's South Carolina application and found that BellSouth's OSS were deficient. In today's Order, the Commission concluded that the marginal improvements BellSouth made to its OSS during the 37-day interval between the filing of these applications did not resolve the deficiencies.

Second, the Commission found that BellSouth did not meet the competitive checklist because it refuses to offer certain individually-tailored customer contracts, or contract service arrangements, to competing carriers at a wholesale discount, as required by the Act. As in the BellSouth South Carolina Order, the Commission expressed its concern that BellSouth's failure to offer contract service arrangements for resale at a discount may impede competition for BellSouth's large-volume customers and thus impair the use of resale as a vehicle for competitors to enter BellSouth's market.

In order to provide guidance for future 271 applications, the Commission concluded that, although the Act precludes a BOC from relying on the presence of cellular providers to satisfy the requirement that there be a facilities-based competitor in the state for which the BOC seeks to provide long distance service, this exclusion does not extend to Personal Communications Services (PCS) carriers. The Commission also noted, however, its previous findings that, although PCS providers appear to be positioning their service offerings to become competitive with wireline service, they are still in the process of making the transition from a complementary service to a competitive equivalent to wireline services.

Action by the Commission February 3, 1998 by Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC 98-17). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell, and Tristani.


News media contact: Rochelle Cohen at (202) 418-0253.

Common Carrier Bureau contact: Linda Kinney at (202) 418-1580.