November 14, 1997
Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth
Re: Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, Tariff F.C.C. No. 73
Based on the facts and record of this proceeding, I believe that Southwestern Bell Telephone Company's (SWBT's) Transmittal No. 2633 should be rejected. I share the concern, expressed in the majority's decision, that Southwestern Bell has not on this record demonstrated adequately that it faces competition sufficient to warrant the pricing flexibility sought by its tariff offering. Accordingly, I concur in the result the majority's decision reaches.
Nevertheless, I write separately because I believe that the majority's decision, in its public interest analysis, addresses issues that are more appropriately considered in the context of the pending Access Reform proceeding's broader inquiry into pricing flexibility for dominant local exchange carriers (LECs).(1) The competitive necessity defense issue raised by SWBT's tariff transmittal is only part of the larger issues concerning pricing flexibility for dominant LECs. As such, the more developed record in the Access Reform proceeding provides the appropriate context in which to consider the issues relating to the circumstances under which dominant LECs should be accorded additional pricing flexibility. Consequently, I reserve judgment on those issues until the upcoming Access Reform order.
1. Access Charge Reform, CC Docket No. 96-262, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 11 FCC Rcd 21354, 21439 (1996); Report and Order, FCC 97-158, at para. 260 (1997).