[ Text Version]

January 7, 1998

Separate Statement
Commissioner Susan Ness

Re: Amendment of the Commission's Rules Regarding Installment Payment Financing for Personal Communications Services (PCS) Licensees

Last September, the Commission reaffirmed its bedrock commitment to the integrity of the auction process, yet found it possible to offer C-block licensees a limited menu of options for handling the commitments they undertook when they bid successfully at auction. Today, the Commission defers the date by which licensees must elect among these options.

Our decision to delay the election date should not be misconstrued. It should not be read as a signal that substantial changes to the options devised in September are probable. Based upon the record to date, I believe it unlikely that such changes will be made.

Our decision today is based solely on the desirability of resolving reconsideration petitions before licensees make their elections. We expect to complete that process in advance of the revised February 26, 1998 election deadline to ensure that licensees and their financial partners have all of the information they need to make informed choices. Doing so promotes fairness, certainty, and finality.

It should be noted that there is no change in the March 31, 1998 date for resumption of installment payments. Moreover, by this notice we have set September 29, 1998 as the date for the reauction of those licenses that have been returned or forfeited.

Our decision in September affirmed our commitment to administer the auctions process with fairness and integrity. In my view, fairness is best served by deferring the election date until we have acted on the reconsideration petitions now before us. A rapid conclusion will bring much- needed certainty to the financial markets and permit licensees to get back to the business of bringing additional choices to the American consumer.