|Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St., SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
|News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
January 10, 2000
COMMENTS REQUESTED ON APPLICATION BY SBC COMMUNICATIONS INC. FOR AUTHORIZATION UNDER SECTION 271 OF THE COMMUNICATIONS ACT TO PROVIDE IN-REGION, INTERLATA SERVICE IN THE STATE OF TEXAS
On January 10, 2000, SBC Communications Inc. and its subsidiaries, Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and Southwestern Bell Communications Services, Inc., d/b/a Southwestern Bell Long Distance (collectively, SBC) filed an application for authorization to provide in-region, interLATA service in the State of Texas, pursuant to section 271 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the Act), 47 U.S.C. § 271. This Public Notice establishes certain procedural requirements relating to consideration of SBC's application. The Commission in a prior Public Notice adopted general procedural requirements that apply to the processing of this and all other applications for authorization under section 271 of the Act.(1) A copy of this earlier Public Notice is attached hereto. Also attached is a protective order adopted today, Application of SBC Communications Inc. Pursuant to Section 271 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to Provide In-Region, InterLATA Services in Texas, Protective Order, DA 00-38 (CCB rel. Jan. 10, 2000), that establishes the conditions under which access will be made available to confidential documents submitted in this proceeding by SBC or any other party.
Comments By Interested Third Parties. Comments by interested third parties in support of or in opposition to SBC's application must be filed on or before January 31, 2000.
State Commission and Department of Justice Written Consultations. The Public Utility Commission of Texas (Texas Commission) must file any written consultation on or before January 31, 2000. Any written consultation by the U.S. Department of Justice, which by the Act's express terms must become part of the Commission's record, must be filed on or before February 14, 2000. Because the Texas Commission and the Department of Justice are given roles by statute in a section 271 proceeding, copies of all pleadings, including comments, should be filed on those parties.(2)
Replies. All participants in the proceeding -- the applicant, interested third parties, the Texas Commission, and the Department of Justice -- may file a reply to any comments filed by any other participant on or before February 22, 2000.
Treatment of Confidential Information. As set forth in the September 28, 1999 Public Notice, submissions by parties (including the applicant, the Department of Justice, and the relevant state commission) that contain no confidential information or that do not comment on any confidential information submitted by other participants in the proceeding shall be filed in conformance with the procedures set forth in the September 28, 1999 Public Notice. However, to the extent a submission includes confidential information or comments on confidential information that another participant has submitted, the party must file with the Office of the Secretary: (a) one copy of only the portion(s) of the submission that contain confidential information or comment on confidential information that another participant has submitted, exclusive of the remainder of the submission; and (b) one original and two copies of the entire confidential submission in redacted form. Each of the submissions described in items (a) and (b) must be accompanied by a cover letter. The submission described in item (a) and accompanying cover letter should be stamped "Confidential--Not for Public Inspection." The original and two copies of the redacted submission described in item (b) and their accompanying cover letters should be stamped "Redacted--For Public Inspection." The cover letters accompanying both sets of submissions set forth in items (a) and (b) above should state that the party is filing a confidential portion of the submission and a redacted version of the entire submission. Other than bearing different stamps (i.e., "Confidential--Not for Public Inspection" or "Redacted--For Public Inspection"), the (a) and (b) cover letters should be identical. The submissions should be delivered in person to Magalie Roman Salas, Secretary, 445 12th Street, S.W., Room TW-B-204; or, in her absence, to William F. Caton, Deputy Secretary, at the same address. Each redacted filing must also be submitted on a read-only CD-ROM(3) formatted in Word 97 or Excel 97 format, as applicable.
All questions relating to access to confidential information submitted by SBC should be directed to Jonathan Rabkin at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans, 1301 K Street, N.W., Suite 1000 West, Washington, DC 20005. He can be reached by phone at 202-326-7963.
Ex Parte Rules - Permit-but-Disclose Proceeding. Because of the broad policy issues involved, section 271 application proceedings initially are classified as permit-but-disclose proceedings.(4) Accordingly, ex parte presentations will be permitted, provided they are disclosed in conformance with the Commission's ex parte rules.(5) Because of the 90-day statutory timeframe for decision, the Commission strongly encourages parties to set forth their views comprehensively in the formal filings specified above (e.g., written consultations, oppositions, supporting comments, etc.) and not to rely on subsequent ex parte presentations. In any event, parties may file no more than a total of 20 pages of written ex parte submissions. This 20-page limit does not include: (1) written ex parte submissions made solely to disclose an oral ex parte contact; (2) written material submitted at the time of an oral presentation to Commission staff that provides a brief outline of the presentation; (3) written material filed in response to direct requests from Commission staff; or (4) written factual exhibits. Ex parte submissions in excess of the 20-page limit will not be considered part of the record of this proceeding. In light of the statutory deadline for decision, parties are hereby requested to provide Bureau staff with courtesy copies of any ex parte presentations made to any member of the Commission.
For purposes of this proceeding, any oral ex parte presentations from the Department of Justice and the Texas Commission are deemed to be exempt ex parte presentations.(6) To the extent that the Commission obtains through such oral ex parte presentations new factual information on which the Commission may rely in its decision-making process, the party submitting the information - either the Department of Justice or the Texas Commission -- shall prepare a summary for inclusion in the record in accordance with Commission rules, unless such a summary is being prepared by Commission staff.(7) We also waive any page limits for written ex parte submissions by the Department of Justice or the Texas Commission.(8)
Notwithstanding the above, the Commission may, by subsequent public notice, prohibit all presentations to its decision-making personnel regarding the application during a seven-day period preceding the anticipated release date of the Commission's order regarding the application.(9)
Ex Parte Meeting Schedule. The Common Carrier Bureau will be available for meetings on January 26-27, 2000 and February 15-17, 2000, in case interested parties wish to discuss any issues that they intend to raise in comments or reply comments, as applicable, in support of or in opposition to SBC's application. The purpose of these meetings is to give interested parties an opportunity to inform Bureau staff of such issues prior to filing their written comments or reply comments.
The Bureau also intends to hold several joint ex parte meetings with both commenters and SBC in late February, on discrete issues raised in the record. The purpose of these meetings will be to give participants in this proceeding an opportunity to narrow and resolve any outstanding issues related to arguments that parties presented in their previous written filings. To resolve any disputed issues in a timely manner, the Bureau encourages interested parties to make joint presentations of common concerns to the extent feasible. Parties who wish to schedule meetings with the Bureau should call Cecilia Stephens, Policy and Program Planning Division, at (202) 418-1588.
Aside from the meetings listed above, ex parte meetings related to this proceeding will occur only at the request of Bureau staff.
By the Chief, Common Carrier BureauNews Media contact: Michael Balmoris -- (202) 418-1500. Common Carrier Bureau contacts: Bill Dever -- (202) 418-1578
Audrey Wright -- (202) 418-2725
1. See Updated Filing Requirements for Bell Operating Company Applications Under Section 271 of the Communications Act, Public Notice, DA 99-1994, 1999 WL 766282 (CCB rel. Sept. 28, 1999) (September 28, 1999 Public Notice).
2. Please forward copies to the attention of: (1) Katherine Farroba, Public Utility Commission of Texas, 1701 N. Congress Ave., PO Box 13326, Austin, TX 78711-3326; and (2) Jamie Heisler, U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, Telecommunications Task Force, 1401 H St., NW, Suite 8000, Washington, DC 20005.
3. If filing on CD-ROM is not possible, applicants may file on a 3.5 inch computer diskette.
4. See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1206(a)(13) (added by 64 FR 68946, 68946 (1999) (effective Jan. 10, 2000)); e.g., Comments Requested on Application by Bell Atlantic for Authorization under Section 271 of the Communications Act to Provide In-region, InterLATA Service in the State of New York (CC Docket No. 99-295), Public Notice, DA 99-2014, 1999 WL 770903 (CCB rel. Sept. 29, 1999).
5. See 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1202, 1.1206(b). Interested parties are to file with the Secretary of the Commission and serve Cecilia Stephens, Policy and Programming Planning Division, Common Carrier Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, Rm. C5-140, 445 Twelfth St., S.W., Washington, DC 20554, and ITS, Inc., 2131 20th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20036, with copies of written ex parte presentations in these proceedings in accordance with the Commission's ex parte rules.
6. See id. § 1.1200(a) ("Where the public interest so requires in a particular proceeding, the Commission and its staff retain the discretion to modify the applicable ex parte rules by order, letter, or public notice."); id. § 1204(a)(6), as amended by 64 FR 68946, 68946 (1999) (effective Jan. 10, 2000).
7. See id. § 1.1206(a).
8. See id. § 1.1200(a).
9. See id. §§ 1.1200; 1.1203.