Re: Rules and Policies on Foreign Participation in the U.S. Telecommunications Market, IB Docket No. 97-142
Re: Amendment of the Commission's Regulatory Policies to Allow Non-U.S. Licensed Space Stations to Provide Domestic and International Satellite Service in the United States, IB Docket No. 96-111
Amendment of Section 25.131 of the Commission's Rules and Regulations to Eliminate the Licensing Requirement for Certain International Receive-Only Earth Stations, CC Docket No. 93-23
COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE CORPORATION Request for Waiver of Section 25.131(j)(1) of the Commission's Rules as it Applies to Services Provided via the INTELSAT K Satellite, File NO. ISP-92-007
Over the past two years, the United States has led a revolution in the telecommunications sector. On the domestic front, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 delivered a clear and compelling blueprint for competition in telecommunications services. Internationally, the Commission acted decisively to reform the antiquated system for delivering international services. At the same time, the United States challenged the nations of the world to build a global communications network that brings the world together through communications and creates global opportunities. In February of this year, the United States reached a historic agreement with 68 other countries to open markets for basic telecommunications services around the world.
Today, the Commission considers rules governing foreign entry into the U.S. telecommunications and satellite markets in response to the landmark agreement on telecommunications negotiated under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In that agreement, countries representing 90 percent of the $600 billion global market for basic telecommunications services have pledged to open their markets to international competition. Equally as important, almost all the participants bound themselves to observe a set of pro-competitive regulatory principles that closely follow the Congressional vision of free competition, fair rules, and effective enforcement enacted in the Telecommunications Act. In light of the market opening and regulatory commitments contained in the WTO Basic Telecom Agreement, we expect to see a widespread shift away from the monopoly provision of telecommunications and satellite services and toward competition, open markets and transparent regulation.
The rules we consider today will open the U.S. telecommunications and satellite markets to foreign investment and entry by foreign carriers. Such entry will introduce new sources of competition in the telecom and satellite markets in the United States and attract much needed investment capital. Increased competition will benefit American consumers by producing lower prices, greater service choice and innovation. Our market-opening actions will also assist the U.S. telecommunications and satellite industries in their efforts to expand beyond our borders. As the world's leaders in telecommunications, our providers and manufacturers are well-equipped to take advantage of the foreign market opportunities that will follow on the heels of the actions we take today. For example, the U.S. satellite industry holds 34 percent of the world satellite market. Finally, the rules we approve today make sense by establishing clear and understandable standards for entry, with streamlined procedures for most applicants and safeguards to prevent foreign carriers with market power from distorting competition in the U.S. market.
Our actions today once again put the United States in a leadership role of prompt and efficient implementation of U.S. commitments in the WTO Basic Telecom Agreement. We will be watching closely implementation by other countries. We expect that U.S. carriers will begin to enter and compete in previously closed foreign markets. We will know that the revolution we started is successful if, in a few years, most of the world's traffic is carried between countries where competition has replaced monopolies, prices decline for international phone calls, and those lower prices translate into a significant increase in the size of the world's international services market. I also expect to see a dramatic increase in the number of people who have access to a telephone around the world. Our own experience shows that competition takes some time to flourish. The WTO Basic Telecom Agreement is the beginning of the revolutionary journey to competition in many countries. With the adoption of the rules we are considering today, the U. S. will continue to spearhead that revolution.