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Re: Report in Response to Senate Bill 1768 and Conference Report on H.R. 3579.

I write separately to explain why I am dissenting from this Report to Congress. The Common Carrier Bureau has done an admirable job of drafting the text of this Report over the last several weeks despite uncertainties regarding whether Congress would ultimately request the Report and what that request would entail. As a result of poor internal Commission processing, however, I have not been given a full opportunity to consider and influence the content of this Report. Because I do have some concerns with the content of the Report, I feel I have no choice but to dissent.

In the interest of being responsive to Congress, however, I briefly describe below some of my concerns regarding the Report and our universal service programs generally:

I also note that Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth raises additional, serious concerns in his statement dissenting from this Report. Had the Commission's internal processes afforded me more of an opportunity to engage with my colleagues regarding the contents of this Report, I might have been persuaded that there are equally valid arguments in opposition to the criticisms I highlight above. Regrettably, that opportunity was never presented.

As I stated in my statement for the April 10, 1998 Report to Congress, I fear that support for these beneficial programs will erode among both legislators and the general public if we cannot find a way to make critics in Congress and elsewhere believe that we are working to preserve and advance universal service in a prudent and responsible manner. With the issuance of this Report, I regret that we pass up yet another opportunity to foster such belief, in part, because we failed to allow for full consideration of this matter by the entire Commission.