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Statement Of
Chairman William E. Kennard
On the SBC Texas Section 271 Application Approval
June 30, 2000

It is fitting that today, in honor of the Fourth of July, we are approving the SBC Section 271 application for Texas - - an action that will bring the freedom of new choices in local telephone service to Texas consumers.

In this action, the Federal Communications Commission certifies that SBC has opened its markets to competitors, and that other local telephone service companies have a meaningful opportunity to compete in Texas.

The tough groundwork for this approval was laid by Chairman Pat Wood and the Texas State Public Utility Commission, and by the U.S. Department of Justice. This unique federal-state partnership makes this the first application under Section 271 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to be approved by all three regulatory bodies.

This approval did not come easily. As I indicated in an earlier statement, I had serious concerns with SBC's January submission, around the issues of timeliness and quality of service in unbundling loops, the provision of advanced services, and the integration of competitors' underlying support systems. The company decided to withdraw its submission.

In their subsequent application, SBC responded in full on all three issues, and I commend SBC for its decision to settle down to the hard work of opening their markets to competition.

The good work by the Texas Commission also made this approval possible. Their persistent, market-opening efforts have resulted in service to approximately a million Texas telephone customers by over ninety local exchange competitors. Since SBC's January submission, the rate of competitive orders for broadband service has doubled, and it has tripled for voice service.

At the signing of the 1996 Act, President Clinton said the Act would "bring the future to our doorstep."

Now those doorsteps include the farms and ranches of Texas, the businesses in its glittering cities, and its millions of homes and schools and churches.