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Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
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Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
TTY: 202/418-2555

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).

September 29, 1999
  News Media Contact:
Rosemary Kimball at (202) 418-0511

First Sitting FCC Chairman to Visit Africa Discusses Development Initiative

Washington, DC - William E. Kennard, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), today outlined his vision for how developed countries can assist developing countries in the use of competitive regulatory policies to increase teledensity and expand access to advanced services. He cited specific examples of how this is working in Botswana and South Africa, two countries he visited last month.

He spoke at an African Communications Development Breakfast Forum and Dialogue in Washington, DC.

He detailed a three-part plan that included: universal access, the free flow of information across borders; and the creation of an institute dedicated to training in telecommunications regulation.

Universal access, he said, meant not only ensuring that the next generation of telecom services is available to as many people as possible, but, more importantly, that the level of teledensity throughout the world is raised so that everyone at least has basic telephone service.

He said that governments need to embrace the Internet and other new technology and the enormous access to information and ideas that it brings to all their citizens. Allowing the Internet to develop free and unencumbered is not only desirable, but is also inevitable.

Chairman Kennard announced a desire to work with industry and other countries to establish an institute to provide the training and technical assistance necessary to establish transparent and predictable regulatory regimes. "The institute, " he said, "must be focused, and technologically and ideologically neutral."

He called upon his audience to find creative ways to ensure the transfer of the knowledge and training necessary to build a global information infrastructure.

- FCC -