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Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

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).

May 21, 1998


In the folk lore of many nations are stories that center around a difficult riddle, one that has confounded many wise people and remains unsolved. In these tales, a clever person, with uncommon wit and ingenuity, emerges and solves the puzzle, and everyone lives happily ever after.

In contempory telecommunications markets in America, we have such a perplexing riddle: universal service. Many clever people have attempted to solve it; to date, the answers have not been satisfactory.

The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) has an important role in administering and managing federal universal service funds. USAC alone cannot solve the universal service riddle, but a poorly managed USAC could certainly make solving the universal service riddle more difficult, if not impossible.

The outside USAC Board of Directors, under the able leadership of Lisa Rosenblum, has recognized the importance of USAC in helping to solve the universal service riddle. It has looked far and wide in search of a person who can best help solve the riddle as well as manage USAC. It sought someone with proven management skills. It sought someone with expertise in State regulation, the source of most universal service in both the past and in the future. It sought someone with an extensive background in the complex politics of Federal-State relations. It sought someone with a commitment to make the Telecommunications Act of 1996 in general, and the universal service section in particular, work. It sought someone who is admired and respected in Washington, D.C., state capitals, and corporate headquarters alike. In short, it sought the impossible.

I have in the past, and I may in the future, disagree with some of the activities of USAC and its subsidiaries. But I fully endorse the decision of USAC to appoint Cheryl Parrino as its first chief executive officer. No one is better qualified. The challenge before her, at times, seems nearly impossible. To be the Chief Executive Officer of USAC is not an easy job, arguably one of the most difficult in the federal government. If anyone can handle this position, it is Ms. Parrino.

The successful implementation of universal service is not entirely on Ms. Parrino's and USAC's shoulders. The FCC, the States, and others have much work to do. But our collective efforts are more likely to succeed with Ms. Parrino at USAC than without her. The folk lore of future generations may look back and say that the the seemingly impossible riddle of universal service was solved and that Cheryl Parrino had an important role in solving it.

- FCC -