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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).

July 17, 1997


FCC Chairman Reed Hundt today called on Congress to protect spectrum licenses from being tied up in bankruptcy delays. Addressing the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's First Annual International Conference, Hundt urged Congress "to make crystal clear to even the most ingenious, pettifogging, perservering lawyers" that provisions of the Bankruptcy Code "are not applicable to any FCC license for which a payment obligation is owed, do not relieve any licensee from payment obligations, and do not affect the Commission's authority to revoke cancel, transfer, or assign its licenses."

Hundt said "We don't want to spend time and resources debating this issue in chapter 11 reorganizations, in chapter 7 bankruptcies, or even in our offices." He said Congressional action would "nip in the bud all legal shenanigans about bankruptcy and the government's rights to its licenses." Hundt noted that the Administration has written Congress to urge this, and that he will make the same recommendation in a letter to Congress today. He emphasized that the FCC doesn't agree with lawyers in the private sector who claim that the Bankruptcy Code conflicts with the statutory mandate to promote competition in wireless services without administrative or judicial delay.

In his luncheon remarks, Hundt also criticized SBC's challenge to the FCC's recently adopted program to connect schools and libraries to communications networks. Expressing confidence in the soundness and statutory basis for the FCC's universal service program, Hundt said "Millions of children will be ill-served if this lawsuit delays this Congressionally-mandated program that will dramatically improve education."

Hundt also praised the World Trade Organization Agreement on Basic Telecommunications Services. Praising Mexico and Chile in particular, Hundt said that countries around the world "are realizing the importance of competition and private investment to an efficient and widely accessible telecommunications network." Hundt predicted that "as countries open up to private investment and competition, we will see dramatic improvements in access by the dawn of the next millennium."