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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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
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:
Common Carrier Bureau contact: Douglas Cooper at (202) 418-2320.
- Postponing the start of planned wireless paging auctions from December 9, 1999 to February
- 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.
Action by the Commission October 4, 1999, by Policy Statement (FCC 99-272).
Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell, and Tristani.