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March 16, 2001

Separate Statement
Commissioner Susan Ness

Re: 2000 Biennial Regulatory Review; Policy and Rules Concerning the International, Interexchange Marketplace (IB Docket No. 00-202)

Today’s decision to eliminate unnecessary tariff filing requirements underscores our commitment to deregulate whenever there is competition and consumers are protected. Carriers providing international services – like those providing domestic long distance services -- will now establish contractual arrangements with their customers just as virtually every other business in this country.

I also support our decision to require that carriers make public information about the rates and terms of their offerings. Competition has provided consumers with a dizzying array of services and calling plan options. Consumers often find carriers’ marketing and billing information confusing and difficult to understand.

Public disclosure of rates and terms will increase the availability of information so that consumers can choose the telecommunications services that best meet their individual needs. Consumers will have a powerful tool to shop around and compare rates, thereby leading to more informed decisions, and fewer unpleasant surprises when the bill arrives.

Consumers today can log onto a website, input their calling patterns, and receive a comparison of the interstate rates they would pay under different plans. The public disclosure requirement ensures that consumer organizations continue to have access to the information necessary to provide and expand such services to consumers.

Economists generally agree that consumer access to accurate information is vital for the efficient functioning of competitive markets. I am pleased that this decision provides for such access. As a result of today’s action, I expect competition in the international services market to intensify and consumers to reap the benefits.