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fcclogo PUBLIC NOTICE

Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
ftp.fcc.gov



DA 98-2
January 5, 1998


Common Carrier Bureau Seeks Comment for Report to Congress
on Universal Service Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996

Pleading Cycle Established
CC Docket No. 96-45 (Report to Congress)


COMMENTS: January 20, 1998
REPLY COMMENTS: February 2, 1998

The Common Carrier Bureau seeks public comment in connection with the Report to Congress on Universal Service required by statute.

The 1998 appropriations legislation for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, H.R. 2267, directs the Commission to undertake a review of the implementation of the provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (1996 Act) relating to universal service, and to submit a report to Congress no later than April 10, 1998.

The report is to provide a detailed description of the extent to which the Commission's interpretations in the following areas are consistent with the plain language of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 151 et seq. (Act), as amended by the 1996 Act:

(1) the definitions of "information service," "local exchange carrier," "telecommunications," "telecommunications service," "telecommunications carrier," and "telephone exchange service" in section 3 of the Act, and the impact of the interpretation of those definitions on the provision of universal service to consumers in all areas of the Nation;

(2) the application of those definitions to mixed or hybrid services and the impact of such application on universal service, and the consistency of the Commission's application of those definitions, including with respect to Internet access for educational providers, libraries, and rural health care providers under section 254(h) of the Act.

(3) who is required to contribute to universal service under section 254(d) of the Act and related existing Federal universal service support mechanisms, and of any exemption of providers or exclusion of any service that includes telecommunications from such requirement or support mechanisms;

(4) who is eligible under sections 254(e), 254(h)(1), and 254(h)(2) of the Act to receive specific Federal universal service support for the provision of universal service, and the consistency with which the Commission has interpreted each of those provisions of section 254; and

(5) the Commission's decisions regarding the percentage of universal service support provided by Federal mechanisms and the revenue base from which such support is derived.

The Common Carrier Bureau seeks comment on these issues to assist the Commission in drafting the Report to Congress.

Interested parties may file comments no later than January 20, 1998. Replies are due February 2, 1998. When filing comments, interested parties should reference the docket number: CC Docket No. 96-45 (Report to Congress). Parties are requested to include with the docket number the parenthetical notation "Report to Congress" in order to assist Commission staff in identifying pleadings related to the Report to Congress. Parties should include in their comments and replies all arguments and positions for consideration by the Commission; parties should not incorporate by reference positions made in earlier pleadings submitted to the Commission.

An original and four copies of all formal comments must be filed in accordance with Section 1.51(c) of the Commission's Rules, 47 C.F.R. 1.51(c). In addition, one copy of each pleading must be filed with International Transcription Service, Inc. (ITS), the Commission's duplicating contractor, at its office at 1231 20th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, and one copy with Sheryl Todd, Federal Communications Commission, Universal Service Branch, 8th Floor, 2100 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20554.

Parties are also asked to submit copies of their formal comments on diskette. Such diskette submissions are in addition to and not a substitute for the formal filing requirements addressed above. Parties submitting diskettes should submit them to Sheryl Todd, Federal Communications Commission, Universal Service Branch, 8th Floor, 2100 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20554. Such a submission should be on a 3.5 inch diskette formatted in an IBM compatible form using WordPerfect 5.1 for Windows or compatible software. The diskette should be submitted in "read only" mode. The diskette should be clearly labelled with the party's name, proceeding ("Report to Congress on Universal Service"), type of pleading, and date of submission. Each diskette should contain only one party's comments in a single electronic file, with a filename based on the name of the party. The diskette should be accompanied by a cover letter. All comments received on diskette will be made available for viewing on the FCC World Wide Web site at <http://www.fcc.gov>.

Parties are also invited to file informal comments electronically. To file electronic comments in this proceeding, you should use the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System on the World Wide Web at <http://www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs.html>. Further information on the process of submitting comments electronically is available at that location. Informal comments may also be sent by electronic mail to <usreport@fcc.gov>.

We will treat this proceeding as permit-but-disclose for purposes of the Commission's ex parte rules. See generally, 47 C.F.R.  1.200-1.1206.

For further information, contact Melissa Waksman of the Common Carrier Bureau at 418-1580.

-FCC-