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[ Separate Statement, Commissioner Furchgott-Roth ]

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Federal Communications Commission
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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).

Report No. CC 98-35 COMMON CARRIER ACTION October 22, 1998

Commission Takes Further Action to Ensure Fair and Efficient Administration of the Universal Service Support Mechanisms

(CC Docket No. 96-45)

The Commission today took further action to ensure that the universal service support mechanisms operate fairly and equitably, particularly with respect to wireless telecommunications carriers. In a Memorandum Opinion and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted today, the Commission addressed the following four issues:

First, the Commission provided wireless telecommunications providers with interim guidelines for reporting their percentage of interstate wireless telecommunications revenues. The amount of interstate revenues is used to determine a wireless carrier's contribution to the high cost and low-income universal service support mechanisms. Specifically, the Commission established "safe-harbor" percentages that wireless carriers may use until adoption of final rules. These "safe-harbor" percentages will assist wireless carriers in allocating revenues between the interstate and intrastate jurisdictions.

Second, the Commission asked for comment on establishing rules to deal with those situations in which universal service contributors cannot derive the amounts of their intrastate and interstate end-user telecommunications revenues readily from their books of account.

Third, the Commission asked for comment on the extent to which its universal service rules facilitate the provision of supported services by service providers, such as wireless telecommunications providers and cable operators, that historically have not provided services eligible for federal universal service support. The Commission asked for comment on the extent to which such providers are, in fact, supplying services eligible for support and what additional steps may be necessary to facilitate the participation of new providers and promote competition in the universal service context.

Finally, the Commission asked for comment on how much, if any, local usage eligible telecommunications carriers should be required to provide to customers as part of a "basic service" package.

Action by the Commission October 22, 1998, by Memorandum Opinion and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 98-278). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Powell and Tristani, with Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth approving in part, dissenting in part and issuing a statement.


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