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Federal Communications Commission
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Washington, D.C. 20554
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Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
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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).

October 4, 1999
David Fiske 202-418-0500
Audrey Spivack 202-418-0500


Washington, D.C.---The FCC today established a series of principles for potential end-of- the-year regulatory waivers, stays and forbearance actions that could assist communications companies in insuring that their communications systems and equipment are ready for the Y2K date roll-over.

In approving this "Year 2000 Network Stabilization Policy Statement," the Commission said it will consider industry requests for stays of regulatory requirements as a precaution against potentially disruptive non-Year 2000-related modifications and upgrades made to various systems and networks. It will consider these requests from any of the industries over which the FCC has regulatory oversight including the wireline, wireless, radio and television broadcast, cable television, satellite and international telecommunications industries.

The Policy Statement includes principles the FCC will apply in considering regulatory actions between now and the beginning of the year 2000:

  1. The FCC will consider, where applicable, the potential effects on Year 2000 remediation of regulatory actions that require changes to computerized systems and networks utilized by the communications industry.

  2. The FCC will consider industry requests for waivers, stays of regulatory requirements, and other related petitions for extensions, where appropriate, as a precaution against potentially disruptive non-Year 2000-related modifications and upgrades made to various systems and networks pursuant to the implementation requirements of Communications Act of 1934 or the Commission's rules.

  3. The FCC reserves the express right to implement new rules and regulations, where such rulemaking is necessary or required to protect the public interest in response to statutory implementation requirements, emergency conditions or special circumstances that may arise in the days remaining prior to the millennial date roll-over. To reiterate, however, the Commission will be sensitive to individual waiver requests or, in the alternative, act on its own motion to stay rules during this short period of time.

    The Commision said that as a result of its discussions with the communications industry it does not believe there is a need for a more sweeping "regulatory moratorium period" in which all regulatory actions that may affect communication systems or equipment are temporarily suspended. The Commission also cautioned that it would guard against any parties attempting to use this network stabilization policy to "forestall" or "roll back" disfavored regulations, or to use it for purposes of competitive advantage.

    The FCC said it considers the Y2K problem to be one of the country's most pressing technical concerns.

    It said that the FCC has worked closely with industry to raise awareness of the Y2K problem, monitor the efforts of industry to address it effectively, and to facilitate the development of contingencies in event of unseen disruption scenarios.

    Examples of actions where the FCC has already taken into account end-of-the-year network protection and stabilization actions include:

    • Postponing the start of planned wireless paging auctions from December 9, 1999 to February 24, 2000.

    • Setting a date of June 30, 2000, instead of an earlier proposed date, as a compliance date under Section 107 of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act.

    • * Granting an extension of a temporary waiver in New York of the ten-digit dialing requirement until after the network stabilization period in the FCC rule governing area code relief.
    Common Carrier Bureau contact: Douglas Cooper at (202) 418-2320.

    Action by the Commission October 4, 1999, by Policy Statement (FCC 99-272). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell, and Tristani.