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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).
For Immediate Release
Washington D.C. August 19, 1997
Press Statement of Commissioner Rachelle Chong
Although we have ultimately denied Ameritech's Section 271 Application to enter the
long distance market in Michigan, I praise Ameritech for its significant, good faith efforts in
opening its local networks to competitors. Without question, Ameritech has gone the farthest
down the road towards creating a framework in which true competition in the local market can
thrive. I commend Mr. Notebaert and his team for taking up the gauntlet of competition
thrown to them by Congress.
It is noteworthy that Ameritech's application is the first one we have found to meet the
Track A requirement in Section 271. This means we found that Ameritech has met its burden
of demonstrating that it is providing access and interconnection to unaffiliated, facilities-based
providers of telephone exchange service to residential and business subscribers in Michigan.
We further found, however, that Ameritech fell short on meeting all the elements of
Congress' competitive checklist. In three areas -- access to operations support systems (OSS),
interconnection, and access to 911 and E911 services -- we found that Ameritech did not meet
its burden of proof. This Commission is committed to helping BOCs achieve the "carrot" of
long distance entry, however. In this order, we have provided significant guidance to
Ameritech as to where it fell short in order to assist it in meeting these checklist items in future
As to OSS issues, I strongly supported the Commission taking a "hard line" as to BOC
provision of access to OSS functions. Along with the Michigan Public Service Commission
and the Department of Justice, we found that Ameritech did not provide adequate information
measuring its OSS performance for competing carriers and for itself. New entrants have made
a convincing case to me that provision of access to OSS functions is absolutely critical to their
competitive entry. If BOCs wish to check off this checklist item, we will expect to see more
detailed and verifiable evidence on this point in future applications.
We have also provided guidance on other issues relating to Section 271. For example,
although we did not reach the public interest issue in this application, we have provided
guidance on how we plan to approach this component of our Section 271 review. We will
perform our traditional broad public interest inquiry, weighing the overall benefits of BOC
entry versus any detriments. We have listed some factors that would be relevant in
determining whether the grant of the application is in the public interest, but I emphasize that
the factors we discuss are for illustrative purposes only and that no one factor must be met in
order for an application to be granted. Thus, we are consistent with Congress' directive that
we not "limit or expand the checklist."
This decision makes clear that the Commission has set the bar high to receive section
271 approval, but I believe this approach is the right one -- the very success of the 1996 Act
depends on local networks being open in order for true competition to flourish. Despite
today's decision, I remain confident that BOCs will achieve long distance entry in the near