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July 9, 1998

Separate Statement of Commissioner Harold W. Furchtgott-Roth

Re: Amendment of Rules Governing Procedures to Be Followed When Formal Complaints Are Filed Against Common Carriers, CC Docket No. 96-238.

Today we adopt a new procedure to ensure the speedy resolution of formal complaint proceedings filed against common carriers. Prompt decision-making by regulatory agencies provides a stable playing field, which allows competitive markets to thrive. But while prompt decision-making can facilitate competition, it is unfortunate that much more frequently regulatory delay acts to impede markets.

The complaint procedures adopted here provide for an initial decision within 60 days of the formal complaint being accepted on to the "Accelerated Docket." It also ensures the opportunity for prompt review of staff decisions or recommendations by the full Commission. I support this time-frame with the hope that it will facilitate competition. I also support today's decision because the Commission expressly notes that nothing in this Order expands the Commission's jurisdiction. The modifications adopted today are important procedural changes, but it is not the Commission's intent that this new process would provide parties with a forum to bring complaints that they could not have brought before. I feel comfortable with today's decision because it recognizes these jurisdictional limitations.

It is my hope that the accelerated process we adopt today will ensure the prompt resolution of disputes among market participants, thus facilitating a vibrant competitive market. Indeed, as the telecommunications market becomes increasingly competitive and markets are reacting ever more rapidly, these new procedures may be necessary to ensure that the Commission can respond to market disputes while the issues are still relevant. Finally, I appreciate that as many of these procedures are new and untried, we expect to review and revise these procedures within a year. With these limits in mind, I support today's decision.