STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER HAROLD FURCHTGOTT-ROTH
CONCURRING IN PART AND DISSENTING IN PART
Re: General Communications, Inc. Application for a License to Land and Operate in the United States a Digital Submarine Cable System Extending Between the Pacific Northwest United States and Alaska, Order on Review, File No. SCL-LIC-19980602-00008 (rel. February 2, 2001).
Perhaps the most troubling aspect of today's decision is that it took three years for the Commission to reach it. Parties are entitled to the expectation that their Commission business will be resolved in a prompt manner. By any measure, today's order fails that test. Indeed I wish to apologize personally to GCI, ATU-Long Distance, Inc., TelAlaska Long Distance/ASTAC Long Distance, Inc., and Alaska Network Systems, Inc. They deserved better treatment from their government. Going forward, it is my hope that the Commission will move aggressively to devote the resources necessary to insure that parties have their claims handled in a reasonable time.
As for the merits, I respectfully dissent in part from today's item. It has been my longstanding view that the Commission lacks authority over undersea cable landing licenses. (1) The Cable Landing License Act (CLLA) provides that "[n]o person shall land or operate in the United States any submarine cable directly or indirectly . . . connecting one portion of the United States with any other portion thereof, unless a written license to land or operate such cable has been issued by the President of the United States." (2) As I have stated before, I do not believe the president is permitted to delegate this authority to an independent agency, such as the FCC. Nevertheless, I concur with today's decision to the extent that it concludes that GCI did not violate the ex parte rules.
1 See Statement of Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth Concurring in Part and Dissenting in Part, GTE Corporation and Bell Atlantic Corporation, Applications for Transfer of Control of Domestic and International Section 214 and 310 Authorizations and Application to Transfer Control of a Submarine Cable Landing License, Memorandum and Order, CC Docket No. 98-184 (rel. June 16, 2000); Dissenting Statement of Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Review of Commission Consideration of Applications under the Cable Landing Licensing Act, IN Docket No. 00-106 (rel. June 8, 2000); Public Statement of Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Re: Joint Application for a License to Land and Operate a Submarine Cable Network Between the United States and Japan, http://www/fcc.gov/Speeches/Furchtgott_Roth/Statements/sthfr932.html (July 9, 1999).
2 47 U.S.C. § 34.