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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).

December 15, 1997


"The FCC must pursue procompetitive policies that are flexible, timely and will promote technological innovation," FCC Commissioner Michael K. Powell said today to the Winter 1997 Seminar of the America's Carriers Telecommunications Association, in McLean, Va.

In his first speech since joining the Commission last month, Powell said his "first priority" will be to "encourage procompetitive policies." He said, "We must be procompetitive because rapidly developing high technology markets demand it. It is nearly impossible for regulators to be able to predict accurately the direction and impact of changing technology or to keep pace with it."

Powell said the issue of competition would be key in looking at universal service issues. He said, "It is vitally important that as we work through universal service we not lose site of how policies we adopt and changes we make will affect our efforts to bring competition to the marketplace… We must remain cognizant that we are imposing a regulatory cost on businesses that must pay into the fund out of their revenues. The cost, if too high, can undermine the economic incentives for those same companies to lower rates or enter new markets."

Powell said he will be very interested in the views and policies of small and midsize companies. He said, "It has almost always been the case that we can learn the most about what drives competition and innovation by more modest-sized, hungry companies infected with the American entrepreneurial spirit." He said Washington policy-makers too often "suffer from the disease 'Big-Guy Myopia' which measures the success of competition based solely on the experiences, data, and promises of the larger telecommunications companies."

Powell also cautioned against "techno-euphoria" and "not being swept up by over- blown promises that technology is the panacea for all ills. We must be realistic that what we hope to achieve will require time and patience if there is to be any hope of success."

Powell stressed the importance of the FCC's issuing timely decisions. "A decision by the FCC that is right, but too late, might as well not have been made at all," he said.

Commissinoer Powell likened the implementation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act to a daredevil jump. "We are daringly attempting to leap the canyon that divides the regulatory world from the competitive one. I believe we have already reached the critical speed --- The point where, if we tried to stop or turn back, we would crash and burn. Thus, like Evil Knieval, we have only one option -- TO GO FOR IT!" he said.

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