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fcclogo NEWS

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

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 28, 1997


In view of the commitments for pro-competitive policies that MCI provided today, in combination with other commitments previously made by BT, I personally believe we can and should approve the BT/MCI merger as in the public interest.

Upon review of the record in this proceeding, Commission staff had particular concerns about the lack of equal access in the United Kingdom, the availability of international transmission capacity on the U.S.-U.K route, the relatively high cost of terminating U.S. traffic in the United Kingdom, and the veto power held by the U.K. government over certain BT management decisions due to a "special share" in BT held by the U.K. government. The commitments of today and of the past few months ameliorate these problems. They include:

  • MCI committed to support the equal access initiatives of the European Union.

  • MCI acknowledges that the FCC could take enforcement action against MCI licenses if BT fails to comply with implemented European Union equal access legislation. More broadly, it marks an important principle for the future -- that a U.S. licensed carrier cannot unfairly benefit if its foreign partner fails to implement equal access obligations, which ultimately hinders competition in the U.S. market.

  • BT and MCI committed to making substantial capacity on the TAT 12/13 transatlantic submarine cable available to newly licensed competitors. MCI has agreed to provide these new competitors with adequate matching backhaul capacity in the United States.

  • BT reduced the U.S.-U.K. settlement rate from 11 to 7 cents per minute, one of the lowest rates in the world.

  • The U.K. Government recently agreed to sever all ownership ties with BT, providing additional assurance that BT will not enjoy any special advantage over other U.K. carriers.

BT's and MCI's commitments, and the opportunities that exist for their competitors in the United States and the United Kingdom, will safeguard the interests of American consumers in the context of this merger. Under these conditions, I personally endorse swift approval of the merger.- FCC -