Text Version

Separate Statement of

Commissioner James Quello

July 18, 1997

Re: Changes to the Board of Directors of the National Exchange Carrier Association, Inc.; Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service. CC Docket Nos. 96-45, 97-21.

I support today's action by the Commission to designate the National Exchange Carrier Association as the temporary administrator of the universal service support mechanisms. I believe that the work of the Commission, especially the effort of the Common Carrier Bureau, and the Joint Board has been commendable. It is clear to me that the real effort in realizing the goals of the universal service program still lies ahead for the Commission, states, both temporary and permanent fund administrators, school districts, libraries, health care facilities, and particularly for telecommunications companies who seek to provide new services and enter new markets.

It is far from clear, however, that the corporate structure created by today's order is the only reasonable mechanism for performing these functions. For example, it is conceivable that administering the funds through committees may be superior to the approach contained in this order. The late date at which I was asked to consider this order complicated my opportunity to consider this option. Consequently, I support today's order with less enthusiasm and less confidence than I would like.

In the Universal Service Order, the Commission stated that the schools and libraries program would become operational on January 1, 1998. In reaching the decision to support the corporations model in this order, I placed considerable emphasis on appointing a temporary administrator in a timeframe that would permit us to meet this deadline. Further delays in appointing the temporary administrator would undermine the critical policy goal of getting the universal service program running on January 1, 1998.

I expect that the temporary administrator will perform, in an effective and thorough manner, the duties necessary to publicize the various programs and to estimate, collect, and distribute funding according to the rules we have adopted. The functioning of the temporary administrator in the coming months and years may demonstrate the wisdom of establishing separate corporations. I sincerely hope that it will.

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