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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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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).

May 15, 2000

Mike Balmoris at (202) 418-0253


Proposals to Privatize Customer Telephone Equipment Rules is the First New Initiative Identified by the Biennial Review 2000

Washington, D.C. - Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced at its May Open Meeting substantial progress it has made in reviewing all of its rules in its Biennial Review 2000. The review, required by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, requires the Commission to review its rules that apply to telecommunications service providers and its broadcast ownership rules to determine whether any regulations are no longer in the public interest due to meaningful competition and whether such regulations should be repealed or modified. The Commission has expanded the regulatory review to include all of the agency's regulations.

In separate action today, the Commission is proposing to privatize its rules governing the process for developing technical standards for and approval of customer telephone equipment also known as customer premises equipment (CPE).

The biennial review of the Commission's regulations presents the Commission with an opportunity to regularly examine its rules and to eliminate or modify those regulations that are no longer necessary because the public interest can be better served through an alternative, for example, reliance on market forces where competition develops in formerly monopolized telecommunications markets. The broadened scope of the biennial review is an important part of the Chairman's Strategic Plan to restructure the agency. Additionally, the biennial review is a important part of the agency's efforts to operate efficiently and provide the best service to the public.

The Biennial Review 2000 will focus on the following three goals:

  1. To aggressively fulfill the statutory requirement, identifying current deregulatory efforts and recommending the modification or removal of rules where possible.
  2. To recommend substantial and numerous deregulation in areas beyond the scope of the statutory mandates.
  3. To establish a framework for future biennial reviews so that the process will become a vital and productive part of the agency's ongoing evolution and improved service to the public.
In its regulatory review, the Biennial Review team is working through each bureau and office and the Competition Steering Committee to fulfill its mission of eliminating unnecessary regulations. Preliminary results of the biennial review found a significant amount of deregulation already occurring, and these proceedings will be discussed in the final report. More importantly, the staff will make many recommendations on new initiatives where rules might be replaced, modified or eliminated.

The Commission plans to release a preliminary report on the biennial review this summer at which time it will seek formal public comment. A final report is expected in the fall.


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