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ATIS Discusses 500/900 Number Portability

Posted: 12/1997

ATIS Discusses 500/900 Number Portability

WASHINGTON–The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry
Solutions (ATIS) recently told the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) that requiring portability of 500 and 900 number
services only for services provided by local exchange carriers
(LECs) is not practical.

Last year the FCC asked ATIS’ Industry Numbering Committee
(INC) to study the technical feasibility of modifying the
existing toll-free database so that 500 and 900 number services
provided by LECs could be portable.

INC and ATIS’ Network Interconnection/Interoperability Forum
jointly studied the issue. The two groups concluded that
"the capabilities necessary for the support of LEC 500 and
900 portability are not currently available, but that the
technology to provide such portability is understood and could be
developed."

FCC Chair Kennard Takes the Hot Seat

Washington–Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair
William E. Kennard and three new commissioners join veteran
Commissioner Susan Ness to face a new year fraught with
uncertainty and more than a little concern by members of the U.S.
Senate who are less than thrilled by progress made since the
Telecommunications Act was passed in 1996.

Other groups, including the telecom industry’s Competitive
Telecommunications Association (CompTel), say that with so many
critical issues remaining on the table, they are confident the
FCC can move to address them now it once again is fully staffed.

"It would be nice to say that all this is working
well," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., recently said in a
prepared statement. "But the truth is that it isn’t. The
lower rates, better service and increased competition called for
by the Act have translated, at least in the short run, into
higher rates, increased concentration among big industry players
and reams of new regulations. In addition, recent court cases
have all but gutted the FCC’s plans for making local telephone
service competitive."

McCain, who chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science
and Transportation and is speculated to be positioning himself
for a run in the 2000 presidential race, went on to call the act
"an abject failure in attaining any benefits whatsoever for
the average consumer," citing his and other Senators’
concerns about Kennard’s "ability and willingness to
reexamine and change policies of the FCC that (they) believe
misinterpret the law and harm consumers."

Despite some apparent senatorial apprehension, Kennard was
approved in a 99-to-1 vote with Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont.,
casting the sole dissenting vote. The three new commissioners are
Michael Powell, Gloria Tristani and Harold Furchtgott-Roth.

U.S. Telecommunications Equipment Exportation
Up 19 Percent

ARLINGTON, Va.–U.S. exports of telecommunications equipment
reached $9.58 billion for the first six months of 1997, a 19
percent increase over the same period last year, according to
statistics released by the Telecommunications Industry
Association (TIA). While communications satellites and other
transmission reception equipment represented the largest single
market segment, the greatest increases were in paging alert
devices and cordless telephones.

Payphone Prices Go Up

SAN FRANCISCO–Southwestern Bell and Pacific Bell announced
they will raise payphone prices to 35 cents. Increases will occur
in Arkansas, California, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

Access to directory assistance, which previously was free,
also will cost 35 cents.

In the wake of federal telecommunications deregulation,
payphone price increases are expected across the country.

Bellcore Introduces Telecom Audio Reference
Library

LISLE, Ill.–Bellcore Learning Services has introduced the
first offering in its audiotape Telecom Audio Reference Library.
The first in the offering, Telecommunications Overview Series, is
designed for personnel with little or no telecommunications
background. The series also is appropriate for technical schools
or colleges as an introduction to telecommunications.

The audiotapes, totaling 159 minutes of information, cover
introduction to telecommunications, telecommunications networks,
transmission, network services and architecture and wireless
architecture. For further information, contact Bellcore at (800)
TEACH-ME.

CompTel, ALTS Applaud Section 271 Petition
Denial

WASHINGTON–The Association for Local Telecommunications
Services (ALTS) and the Competitive Telecommunications
Association (CompTel) applauded the Federal Communications
Commission’s (FCC’s) decision rejecting Ameritech’s Section 271
petition to offer in-region long distance service in Michigan.

"Section 271 requires facilities-based competition for
both residential and business customers before a Bell monopoly
may offer in-region long distance. In Detroit, Michigan’s largest
city, it is impossible for a residential customer to choose any
local telephone company other than Ameritech," said ALTS
president Heather Gold.

The Ameritech petition is the third Section 271 application
filed by the Bell monopoly since January. Ameritech withdrew its
earlier long distance petitions due to errors and inconsistencies
noted by the FCC and ALTS. "Ameritech’s application…was
premature, since it is clear that the company has not complied
with the FCC’s 14-point checklist," said CompTel’s executive
vice president Genevieve Morelli.

With this decision, the FCC elaborated on the requirements for
opening the local marketplace to competition, such as
establishing electronic operational support systems, that
Ameritech must meet before earning the right to enter the long
distance market.

"The FCC’s serious and thorough investigation of the
complex facts of this application, and its careful effort to
provide the RBOCs with guidance on what condition they must meet
to enter the long distance market, demonstrate that the FCC is
functioning exactly as Congress intended it to," noted H.
Brian Thompson, chair and CEO of LCI International.


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