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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).

March 18, 1999

Report No. CC 99-5

Emily Hoffnar (202) 418-0253

FCC Increases Consumer Access to Long Distance Rate Information
CC Docket No. 96-61

The Commission today required that long distance carriers publicly disclose their rates to the public in an easy-to-understand, clear format, once these services are detariffed. This will make it easier for consumers to obtain information to help select the long distance plan that best suits their individual needs. Consumers will be able to get information directly from carriers, and the on-line public disclosure requirement will help ensure that this information is dispersed as widely as possible. Consumers also can obtain this information through one of the many consumer organizations and other businesses that collect and analyze long distance rate and service information and offer their comparative analyses to the public. The public disclosure requirement will also make it easier for these businesses and consumer organizations to obtain this information.

Today's order is one of a series of recent actions that the Commission is taking to help consumers reap the full benefits of a competitive marketplace. In other proceedings, the Commission has required disclosure of long distance rates at public pay phones, and is considering measures to simplify telephone bills. Like those proceedings, the measures adopted today will better enable consumers to make fully informed choices and protect their rights.

Specifically, this order requires long distance carriers to make the rates, terms, and conditions of their interstate, domestic, long distance services available to the public in at least one location during regular business hours. Carriers that have an Internet website must also post this information on-line in a timely and easily accessible manner.

The Commission initially established a public disclosure requirement in its Second Report and Order in October 1996 that ordered complete detariffing pursuant to the forbearance provisions of section 10 of the Communications Act. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit subsequently stayed the rules adopted in the Detariffing Order pending a decision on appeal. The court also held its proceedings in the appeal of the Second Report and Order in abeyance to allow the Commission to act on petitions for reconsideration of the Second Report and Order and the subsequent Order on Reconsideration. The public disclosure requirement adopted today, therefore, will not be effective until the court's ruling on the merits of the Second Report and Order.

Action by the Commission March 18, 1999 by Second Order on Reconsideration (FCC 99-47). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Powell and Tristani, with Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth dissenting. Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell and Tristani issuing separate statements.

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Common Carrier contacts: Margaret Egler (202/418-2319) and Andrea Kearney (202/418-7271)