[ Text Version | WordPerfect Version ]

fcclogo NEWS

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).

June 12, 1998


Re: Fifth Order on Reconsideration and Fourth Report and Order, Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, CC Docket No. 96-45.

Today, the Commission takes an important step in its implementation of the universal service mandates of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which it is our duty to implement. I fully recognize the benefits of the programs that are the subject of this Order. In particular, I recognize the importance of access to advanced services to the education of the next generation of Americans.

Nevertheless, I will issue a separate statement dissenting in part from this Order because I believe the Commission should, in particular, suspend collections for the Schools and Libraries program temporarily in order to resolve the funding questions that loom over all aspects of universal service -- including the new high cost support mechanism -- simultaneously in an integrated proceeding. The Act requires that we balance the interests of several constituencies in addition to those represented by these programs in our implementation of universal service, just as the Act requires that we balance the goals of universal service against the other procompetitive, deregulatory provisions of the Act. In sum, I would strike a different balance than that struck by the majority. Yet I support the general direction of the changes made in this Order regarding the scope and timing for funding the Schools and Libraries program, in particular, and I commend the majority for having the courage to institute these changes.