SBC Compliance Plan Regarding FCC Rules and Regulations
SBC Communications Inc. ("SBC" or "Company") is committed to full and complete compliance with the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC" or "Commission"). In order to ensure that its employees meet the Company’s standards for care and accuracy in dealings with the agency, SBC’s existing Compliance Program is being amended to incorporate the following provisions of this comprehensive SBC Compliance Plan Regarding FCC Rules and Regulations ("Plan").
The Plan first addresses Section 271 and Section 272, 47 U.S.C. §§ 271, 272, issues arising in the merger context. The company has adopted a new six-point program that incorporates Section 271 and Section 272 subject matter experts into the merger approval, implementation and integration processes. The goals are to identify issues early in the merger process, to assure post-merger compliance, and to assure timely and accurate exchanges of information with the FCC.
The Plan next includes an expansion of the existing SBC Compliance Program to include more specific attention to Section 271 and Section 272 issues. Under these processes, the SBC Compliance Officer must submit regular certifications of compliance and reports to the SBC Board of Directors.
The Plan also includes expanded training for personnel engaged in regular contacts with the Commission. Specifically, an SBC Compliance Primer will be prepared that sets forth SBC and Commission standards for interactions with the agency. All employees regularly engaged in such contacts will be required to certify that they have reviewed and understand these requirements. In addition, an annual training program will be conducted for such individuals.
Finally, this Plan continues the Company’s policy of requiring mandatory Section 271 and Section 272 training. This has already resulted in thousands of employees being educated about the company’s obligations under the Act. In order to reach as many employees as possible, a training video has also been prepared for employees who are not available for the regularly scheduled training sessions.
The following policies and requirements will foster timely and effective communication and coordination among: (1) SBC personnel responsible for obtaining regulatory approval of mergers; (2) SBC’s regulatory personnel; (3) Section 271/272 subject matter experts; (4) SBC’s Section 272 Oversight Team; and (5) personnel responsible for integrating merged companies following regulatory approval:
II. Incorporation Into SBC’s Compliance Program
The policies and requirements of this Plan will be formally incorporated into the existing SBC Compliance Program, "Ethics in the Workplace."
The primary objective of SBC’s Compliance Program is to have an effective and meaningful procedure to detect, as well as to prevent, legal and ethical concerns and/or violations. The Program is currently comprised of the following subject-matter areas: Corporate Ethics; Employment; Environmental; Finance; Government (Lobbying and Campaigns and Federal Procurement); Intellectual Property/Patents/Trademarks; International; Marketing/Trade Regulation/ Antitrust; Regulatory; Safety; and Tax. Each subject-matter area of the Program contains a summary of applicable company policies and/or laws; a list of standards and requirements which are reasonably capable of reducing the likelihood of illegal and unethical conduct; and a list of procedures which will serve to effectively communicate standards and requirements to employees or agents. In addition the Program contains reporting guidelines in the event employees/agents suspect criminal or unethical conduct; auditing and investigating guidelines; disciplinary guidelines; delegation guidelines; and education and training guidelines.
All SBC subsidiary employees are expected to meet the objectives of the Program and understand how it relates to their jobs. Key features of the Compliance Program are annual certification reports by the compliance officer for each SBC subsidiary summarizing the subsidiary’s administration of the SBC Compliance Program. In addition, the SBC Board of Directors has approved the designation of an officer of SBC Communications Inc. as the SBC Compliance Officer. The Board has assigned ongoing oversight responsibility for the Program to its Corporate Public Policy and Environmental Affairs Committee which includes outside directors. The SBC Compliance Officer provides an annual compliance report to the Committee.
III. FCC Contacts
SBC employees who make regular contacts with the FCC ("SBC’s FCC representatives") as part of their assigned duties (e.g., employees assigned to SBC’s Washington D.C. office, subject matter experts, attorneys and other employees who meet with the FCC on a regular basis) will be informed of this Plan and the FCC’s rules and regulations regarding contacts with, and representations to, the FCC through a Compliance Primer and will be required to ensure that other employees participating in FCC contacts are informed of the Plan and the applicable FCC rules and regulations.
In addition, an annual training program will be held that reviews the Company’s standards and the requirements imposed by the Commission rules and policies with respect to contact and representations to the agency.
SBC will continue to provide extensive training on section 271 and section 272 issues to relevant employees. After the FCC’s Non-Accounting Safeguards Order became effective, the SBC Section 272 Oversight Team was formed and developed training to inform employees of Section 272’s requirements. This training also includes Section 271 materials. Since the establishment of the Oversight Team, training has been held for thousands of employees of SBC’s BOCs, 272 affiliates and other affiliates. This training has been conducted in each SBC state. Officer letters have been sent to employees requiring them to attend training sessions and discussing the importance of 272 issues.
The Oversight Team has developed a training video for employees who need immediate training or when Oversight Team members are not readily available.