cr> Action Alert: Small Businesses to be Put Out on Str


Craig A. Johnson

Marty Tennant deserves our appreciation for publicizing these atrocious
clauses in the bill before it is all wrapped up in a black bow to send
to Clinton to sign.

The only "public interest organization" that I know of that has been
active in trying to keep language in the bill to protect small to
medium sized providers and users is CIX, and I haven't heard much from
them on this lately.

I identified the problem in my piece that ran in the December issue of
WIRED magazine, in which I stated:

"The Senate's telecom deregulation bill, S 652 compounds the problem
by stipulating that interconnections and unbundling of network
components be granted only to 'telecommunications carriers' and not
'information service providers.'  This means that Internet service
providers may wake up some day to find their access to transport and
interconnection blocked."

This kind of retrograde provision, like the censorship measure, will
hurt small to medium-sized businesses all over the country, and yet,
nary a peep has been heard from erstwhile lobbyists of small to
medium-sized businesses, like the Chamber of Commerce, which has
strongly supported the bill.

Do you suppose that maybe some of the organizations don't really
understand the impact that such provisions will have, or are they just
caving to the "big dawgs?"


Date:        Sat, 13 Jan 1996 12:24:54 -0600
Sender:     •••@••.••• (Marty Tennant)
Subject:    Action Alert - Telecom Dereg Bill

Small Businesses out on street with Telecom Dereg Bill.   Big Business
rides the Superhighway.

The committee rewrite eats away at the heart and substance of the
House version of this bill as it applies to equal access and
interconnection for information service providers.

Our representatives in HR1555 rightfully envisioned an interconnected
world of telecommunications and intelligence, with walls being torn
down in our cold war communications landscape.  Isn't that what this
big change is all about?

Small businesses and large information providers too, are afforded a
second class seat in the back of the bus on this committee vision of
the future.

The entire House Bill, in my opinion, anticipated the seamless
integration of information services and telecommunication services. It
treated information service providers on equal footing as
telecommunications companies.

Look at the House bill wording carefully.  This wording is repeated
throughout the bill.


HR1555:  "Sec 242 - (b) (3) Equal Access -  A local exchange carrier
shall afford, to any other carrier or person offering (or seeking to
offer) a telecommunications service or an information service,
reasonable and nondiscriminitory access on an unbundled basis

 ... to databases, signalling systems, poles, ducts, conduits, and
rights-of-way owned or controlled by a local exchange carrier, or
other facilities, functions, or information (including subscriber
numbers) integral to the efficient transmission, routing, or other
provision of telephone exchange access...

that is sufficient to ensure the full interoperability of the
equipment and facilities or the carrier and of the person seeking such


The key wording here is the equal access to databases and signalling
systems.  Nowhere that I am aware does the law currently specify this
much integration between information services and the
telecommunication  companies.

The current and future competitive services that information service
providers could offer to telephone subscribers, with access to the
databases and signalling systems that make the nationwide
telecommunications network function, is incredible.  At this time,
this access is reserved for telcos and long distance companies only.

I was told by a Bell Atlantic employee that they were trying to get
this language out of the bill.  Evidently they succeeded.  This is a
revisit to the Carterphone days all over again.

Without this wording, small businesses and information service
providers will not have the equal status needed for full and complete
integration with the current and future telecommunications networks
planned by the RBOC's. Large telecommunications firms will have
barriers errected from the getgo, keeping innovation out of their
monopoly strongholds.

The FCC is supposedly investigating this need via their "Matter
Concerning Intelligent Networks" CC Docket 91-346, but they have been
doing so for a long, long time without any action.  The RBOC's are
urging the FCC to stay away from rulemaking in this docket, saying
that the free market will determine the best outcome.  Hogwash!

The wording above from HR1555 has essentially been replaced with the
following in the Conference Committee bill.  Notice the name.  It
already anticipates barriers being there for small companies.


"(a) ELIMINATION OF BARRIERS. Within 15 months after the date of
enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1995, the Commission (FCC)
shall complete a proceeding for the purpose of identifying and
eliminating, by regulations pursuant to its authority under this Act
(other than this section), market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and
other small businesses in the provision and ownership of
telecommunications services and information services, or in the
provision of parts or services to providers of telecommunications
services and information services.

"(b) NATIONAL POLICY.  In carrying out subsection (a), the
Commission shall seek to promote the policies and purposes of this Act
favoring diversity of media voices, vigorous economic competition,
technological advancement, and promotion of the public interest,
convenience, and necessity.

"(c) PERIODIC REVIEW  Every 3 years following the completion of
the proceeding required by subsection (a), the Commission shall review
and report to Congress on

"(1) any regulations prescribed to eliminate barriers within its
jurisdiction that are identified under subsection (a) and that can be
prescribed consistent with the public interest, convenience, and
necessity; and

"(2) the statutory barriers identified under subsection (a) that the
Commission recommends be eliminated, consistent with the public
interest, convenience, and necessity.

Sorry folks, but I'd prefer to have the LAW, and not the FCC 15 months
after the bill becomes effective, protect my rights as a small
business in an integrated communications and information society. This
is particularly important since the mood of Congress is to eventually
eliminate the need for the FCC.

If you are as outraged as I am with the above, then please consider
writing a letter to your Senators and Congressional Representatives.

I will send out a suggested letter for your possible use under
separate cover.

Please distribute this freely to other lists and forums.

Marty Tennant
803 497-2898

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