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Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

DA 98-2112
October 20, 1998

CC Docket No. 96-45

The Federal Communications Commission will hold an en banc hearing on Thursday, October 29, 1998, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm, in the Commission meeting room, Room 856 at 1919 M Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. The Commission has invited the state members of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service to also preside at the hearing.

In its Universal Service Order,(1) the Commission concluded that both the states and the federal government have a role in ensuring that all Americans benefit from affordable telecommunications service, consistent with the statutory mandate embodied in the Telecommunications Act of 1996.(2) At the hearing, panelists representing a broad range of interests and perspectives will discuss whether the goal of affordable telephone service is being met and whether there are policies that the Joint Board should consider recommending to continue to meet the goal of affordable service. The Commissioners and Joint Board members will then ask questions of the panelists.

Participants also will discuss whether federal and state regulators are adequately informing consumers of the issues surrounding the new competitive marketplace and the new federal universal service support mechanisms. The participants will consider whether there are policies that the Joint Board should consider recommending to better educate consumers about the telecommunications issues facing them today.

The en banc is open to the public, and seating will be available on a first come, first served basis. A transcript of the en banc will be available 10 days after the event on the FCC's Internet site. The URL address for the FCC's Internet Home Page is <http://www.fcc.gov>.

The en banc will also be carried live on the Internet. Internet users may listen to the real-time audio feed of the en banc by accessing the FCC Internet Audio Broadcast Home Page. Step-by-step instructions on how to listen to the audio broadcast, as well as information regarding the equipment and software needed, are available on the FCC Internet Audio Broadcast Home Page. The URL address for this home page is http://www.fcc.gov/realaudio/. Audio and video tapes of the en banc may be purchased from Infocus, 341 Victory Drive, Herndon, VA 20170, by calling Infocus at (703) 834-0100 or by faxing Infocus at (703) 834-0111.

News Media Contact: Rochelle Cohen (202) 418-0253
Common Carrier Bureau Contacts: Emily Hoffnar (202) 418-7396; ehoffnar@fcc.gov
Lori Wright (202) 418-7391; lwright@fcc.gov

1. Federal State Joint Board on Universal Service, Report & Order, CC Docket No. 96-45, 12 FCC Rcd 8776, 8837 (1997).

2. 47 U.S.C. 254(i). See also 47 U.S.C. 254(b)(1).