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Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
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Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
TTY: 202/418-2555

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).

July 22, 1999
Michelle Russo at (202) 418-2358

FCC Cable Chief Lathen Calls for MARKETPLACE SOLUTIONS in era of

Deborah A. Lathen, Chief of the Cable Services Bureau of the FCC, today said that "the emergence of convergence" puts cable television in the forefront of the new wave of advanced communications services, known as broadband.

In a speech to the Strategic Research Institute's 1999 Forum, Lathen said, "The development of cable modems and DSL technology should introduce us to a world in which all communications modes - video, voice and data - are readily accessible and conveniently bundled."

Lathen outlined three major roles of the regulator in an era of convergence:

  • Ensure that the regulatory environment is not a hindrance to the construction and deployment of advanced services and technologies
  • Ensure that the deployment of advanced services benefits the greatest number of Americans
  • Maintain a neutral posture to avoid promoting one technology over another

Lathen said that the FCC should allow the marketplace to determine the winners and losers. She added, "At every stage of every decision, we must ask ourselves is this in the best interest of the American consumer," including bridging the "digital divide" gap between the "information haves and have-nots."

Lathen commented on pending proceedings before the FCC, noting:

AT&T/MediaOne merger: the Bureau will issue a Public Notice on Friday, July 23, inviting public comments by August 23 and reply comments by September 1 7.

Broadband Open Access: having rules and regulations adopted by 30,000 local regulatory agencies is unworkable and vigilant restraint is the best policy at this time.

Horizontal Ownership and Attribution Rules: the Commission is expected to issue a report and order in the next few months.

Lathen also said that U.S. cable policies relate to "a tremendously inter-connected global economy." She said, "The rapid growth and expansion of communications technology is leading to a decentralization of traditional economic markets throughout the world, where physical borders and distance are becoming increasingly inconsistent."

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