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April 17, 1998


Re: Performance Measurements and Reporting Requirements for Operations Support Systems, Interconnection, and Operator Services and Directory Assistance (CC Docket No. 98-56).

I write separately to underscore my support for (1) affirmatively proposing that this Notice result in model rules regarding performance measurements and reporting procedures that states may voluntarily adopt and (2) creating a thorough record for the purpose of crafting a comprehensive set of these measurements and procedures.

Adoption of performance measurements and reporting procedures as optional model rules is consistent with my goal of promoting regulatory efficiency. It is clear that moving to model rules is the most expeditious means for deploying sorely needed guidance to the markets and the States. In particular, given the questions regarding our authority to regulate in this area raised by the Eighth Circuit's decision in Iowa Utilities v. FCC, 120 F.3d 753 (8th Cir. 1997), I believe the Commission would engender significant legal and political opposition if we attempted to impose binding national rules before the courts resolve those jurisdictional questions. At the same time, I believe it is critical that the Commission respond to states and carriers that have requested guidance regarding performance measurements well before the courts are likely to reach our jurisdiction. Guidance in this area that comes months or years late will be of little use in moving the analysis already begun by the carriers, the Justice Department and some forward-thinking States to the next level. Thus, by creating a thorough record with the intention of issuing model rules regarding performance measurements in the near term, we are more likely to achieve timely, well-reasoned results and pro-competitive outcomes than we would if we attempted to impose binding national rules at this time.

In addition, by empowering the States and eliminating the potential for conflict with existing State policies, I believe the model rule approach more appropriately recognizes and, indeed, celebrates the marriage between the States and the Commission in giving birth to the pro-competitive, deregulatory environment mandated by the Act. In so doing, we shed further the misperception that somehow States will not "do the right thing" in promoting competition unless we essentially force them to. While I believe that seeking comment in this area via another procedural vehicle (such as a Notice of Inquiry) would have been more consistent with the Commission's commitment to adopt optional, rather than binding, rules, I applaud that commitment and hope that it heralds an important advance in the tenor and tactics of the agency.

Likewise, I support the creation of performance measurements and reporting procedures because they are consistent with my views about how the Commission may promote competition most effectively. As the Notice itself points out, performance monitoring reports should reduce the need for regulatory oversight by encouraging self-policing among carriers. Further, the information collected in these reports will hopefully afford regulators the courage to shift the focus of their activities from prospective, prophylactic regulation to vigorous enforcement, as in the antitrust law context.

Of course, performance measurements and reporting procedures that are unnecessarily detailed would impose undue burdens on incumbent local carriers without commensurate benefits for competition. Thus, I support the goal stated in the Notice of balancing these benefits and burdens, and I would endorse wholeheartedly the adoption of less detailed or burdensome measurements and reporting procedures than are proposed here if doing so would still promote competition and achieve the statutory requirement of nondiscrimination.

In closing, I wish to thank the able staff of the Common Carrier Bureau, as well as the industry, for their diligence over the last several months in contributing to the proposals and questions contained in the Notice. I firmly believe that, if we continue to work hard and to be mindful of some of the considerations identified here and in the Notice itself, we will ultimately enable the American consumer to reap substantial rewards in the form of deregulation and enhanced competition.