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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 1996size = +1>
BELL ATLANTIC APPLAUDS FCC's COMMITMENT,
BUT SAYS AGENCY MUST GO FARTHER TO REDUCE REGULATION
Arlington, VA -- Responding to request from the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) for industry comments on how it could
improve its processes, Bell Atlantic applauded the commission for its
commitment to eliminate burdensome and unnecessary regulation, but said
the commission must go farther.
In comments filed March 15, Bell Atlantic
said that while the FCC has begun the job of reforming its procedures, it
must make more fundamental changes and do that right away.
"Incremental adjustments in FCC regulation will not be enough to
match the torrent of changes unleashed by the new telecommunications
law," said Bell Atlantic Vice President and Associate General
Counsel Edward D. Young, III.
"The commission must not allow outdated regulation to impede
competition. Instead, the commission must move quickly to make
fundamental changes in the regulatory process that follow the
pro-competitive intent of the new legislation."
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 gives the FCC the ability and the
mandate to discontinue regulations that are not needed. Bell Atlantic
said the FCC must limit its regulatory control of companies' activities
to those areas where the public interest actually requires specific
action, and even then it should limit its regulations to those that are
absolutely necessary to meet that end. "Ultimately, the commission
should use the new law to rethink its own role, and to truly become a
deregulatory role model," Young said.
Bell Atlantic outlined eight
steps the FCC should take to accomplish Reed Hundt's vision to make
the commission "the most deregulatory, pro-market, pro-competitive,
investment-encouraging, rule-simplifying FCC in history."
- Eliminate unnecessary regulation of new services
introduced by local exchange companies (LECs). Bell Atlantic
said current regulations limit LECs abilities to introduce new services.
This deprives consumers of the choices offered by potential new
services. The company said the commission should allow new services to
be filed on a single day's notice without burdensome cost support or Part
69 waivers and without subsequent price regulation.
- Pricing restrictions should be removed for existing LEC
services as soon as there is a competitive alternative available
because pricing will then be determined by the market.
- Eliminate regulation of LEC earnings. Bell Atlantic
said that discredited rate-of-return regulation and the so called
"sharing" rules blunt efficiency incentives and discourage
investment in new technology. This is a detriment to the public interest
and a burden to regulated companies.
- Eliminate LEC depreciation regulation. Bell
Atlantic explained that depreciation regulation requires LECs to keep a
separate set of books that have no economic justification, and are only
designed to satisfy regulators. The FCC's depreciation model only makes
sense when the commission regulates earnings. With that gone, the
commission's depreciation regulation is not needed.
- Eliminate regulated service cost allocation
requirements. If the commission no longer regulates earnings,
it also no longer needs to regulate costs.
- Eliminate filing requirements for wireless transmission
facilities within a geographic safe zone. Bell Atlantic said
the FCC already has procedures to establish a streamlined process for
construction and modification of wireless facilities. Rather than
require prior approval for each transmitter, the commission should allow
licensees to configure their systems to meet the needs and interests of
their subscribers in a timely and more efficient manner.
- Eliminate unnecessary reporting requirements that
cannot be justified as filling a specific regulatory need.
- Do not use the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to create new
regulatory burdens that were not envisioned by Congress, and are
not required by a legitimate regulatory need.
"These suggestions are fair and pro-competition," said Young.
"If the commission acts quickly on these eight items, it will make
gigantic strides towards streamlining its regulation, and better serve
the public good with minimum intrusion into the marketplace."
Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local
telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the
largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication marketplace.
Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of
New Zealand and is actively developing high-growth national and
international business opportunities in all phases of the industry.
for more information, contact:
Bell Atlantic Filing With the FCC: Improving