FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Brad Ramsay
May 14, 2004 (202) 898-2207
NARUC'S PRESIDENT AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIR
WELCOME AT&T PROPOSAL
Washington, DC - On March 31, 2004, all five FCC commissioners announced the Commissionís intention to seek a 45-day extension of the stay in the DC Circuitís USTA II decision and urged the telecommunications industry to redouble its efforts to seek agreement on mutually acceptable terms for offering unbundled network elements. The FCC also announced that it would ask the United States Solicitor General to request a comparable extension of the deadline for filing a petition for certiorari. Subsequently, the DC agreed to stay its mandate to June 15, 2004. The Solicitor General has not yet filed an extension request. NARUC joined the FCC Commissioners in the call for negotiations. NARUC believes the only way to obviate the need for a stay of this decision pending the inevitable petition for certiorari, is if all the Bell Operating Companies can reach agreement with all the major competing companies (and a substantial majority of the smaller companies) before the Court's mandate becomes effective. Frustrated by the lack of progress in reaching commercial agreements, AT&T today asked each of the four Bell companies to agree to a binding arbitration process that results in long-term commercial agreements to preserve competition and break the impasse. AT&T also expects that the independent arbiter will provide status reports to federal regulators and government officials.
On hearing of AT&T's offer, NARUC President, Georgia Commissioner Stan Wise said:
"Right idea at the right time. It could get us from posturing to brass tacks and give a real shot in the arm to the Administration's proposal."
Telecommunications Committee Chairman Michigan Commissioner Bob Nelson said:
"We are concerned that this deadline is approaching, and while a few carriers have reached agreement, it appears that much remains to be done. I agree that binding arbitration should be pursued as a viable option."
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Supervisor/Director - NARUC Policy Department
National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
1101 Vermont Avenue, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005
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