Text Version

August 18, 1997


RE: Implementation of the Local Competition Provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996; Third Order on Reconsideration and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The Commission today reaffirms and clarifies a very important aspect of our Local Competition Order: the ability of a competitive local exchange carrier to obtain transport on a shared basis from the incumbent local exchange carrier. More fundamentally, this decision highlights the importance we place on incumbents making available to new entrants their network elements on a combined basis -- a combination sometimes referred to as the UNE platform.

In the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress mandated that new entrants into the formerly monopolized local exchange market have the ability to choose any or all of three entry strategies: interconnection, resale and unbundled network elements. Congress correctly foresaw that new entrants would need these flexible strategies if they are to compete successfully with the incumbents and their extraordinary economies of scale and scope.

In its decision last month, the Eighth Circuit explicitly affirmed our authority under the Act to define unbundled network elements. This is a very important aspect of our local competition policies. Where the purpose or effect of moves by an incumbent LEC to break apart currently combined elements is to create a barrier to competition, we will take action to tear down or prevent the erection of such barriers.