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Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
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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 99-4 COMMON CARRIER ACTION March 10, 1999

FCC Eliminates Comparably Efficient Interconnection Preapproval Process
and Streamlines Network Information Disclosure Rules

(CC Docket Nos. 95-20 and 98-10)

The Commission today released an Order streamlining its Comparably Efficient Interconnection (CEI) and Network Disclosure rules while maintaining protections against discriminatory practices. The CEI rules ensure that competitive information service providers (ISPs) have access to the underlying basic services that Bell Operating Companies (BOCs) use for their own information service offerings. In addition, the Commission eliminates certain network information disclosure requirements made unnecessary by competition. The Commission declined to eliminate other disclosure requirements that ensure access to critical network information by carriers, information service providers, and equipment manufacturers.

The Order released today significantly streamlines the Commission's review process for BOC CEI plans. First, the Order eliminates the requirement for pre-approval by the Commission. Instead, ISPs and other interested parties will use the Commission's enforcement process to ensure that BOCs follow through on their CEI responsibilities. Second, it eliminates the need for competitors to contact the Commission or other intermediary for copies of the plans. In the future, BOCs will post on their Internet site CEI plans for any new or altered intraLATA information service offering, and notify the Commission's Common Carrier Bureau (Bureau) at the time of the posting. These postings can occur simultaneously with the introduction of innovative information services. This minimally intrusive procedure will preserve the useful elements of the CEI plans, reduce the regulatory burden on the BOCs, and speed the introduction of new information services to the public.

The Order also dismisses all pending CEI matters. The Commission concluded that its formal complaint process is better suited to conduct the fact-finding, arbitration, and adjudication necessary to resolve the complex and highly fact-specific issues that arise in certain CEI plans. Parties with previously pending challenges to CEI plans may file formal complaints which rely on their already existing record, rather than developing a factual record through the procedures normally applicable to formal complaints.

In addition to streamlining the Commission's CEI procedures, the Order eliminates the network disclosure rules adopted in the Computer III proceeding and modifies the network disclosure rules adopted in the Computer II proceeding to mirror the disclosure requirements stemming from the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (1996 Act). Although incumbent local exchange carriers (LECs) must still disclose network information as required by the 1996 Act, they will no longer have to follow three separate sets of network information disclosure rules, each with its own timing, triggering, and notice requirements. The Order also eliminates the pre-1996 Act requirement that interexchange carriers (IXCs) and competitive LECs disclose network information. This conclusion comports with the Commission's statutory obligation to eliminate regulations that are no longer necessary due to meaningful economic competition among providers.

Action by the Commission February 24, 1999 by Report and Order (FCC 99-36). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell and Tristani, with Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth issuing a separate statement.


News Media contact:                     Emily Hoffnar, (202) 418-0253.
Common Carrier Bureau contacts: Staci Pies, (202) 418-2794.
                                                     Jon Reel, (202) 418-0637.