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News Briefs

Posted: 12/2001

News Briefs

* In other communications security-related issues, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said during a recent speech in Washington that because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the FCC should assume expanded regulatory authority, particularly with respect to the Internet. The FCC, which has statutory mandates with respect to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) and emergency 911 legislation, is likely to pursue a more vigorous and expeditious implementation of these statutes, Copps said. While his speech was laced with references to the Internet, cyberspace and information systems, the FCC has no authority over any of these technologies. Nonetheless, Copps says the FCC’s “participation in the homeland security effort is logical and imperative. He adds that the source of this FCC regulatory power is embodied in the “public interest” references contained in the
Telecommunications Act of 1996.

*
The Arizona Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against Qwest Communications
International Inc. alleging the company repeatedly placed unauthorized charges on consumer bills. Qwest says the AG is “dead wrong” and says “when a mistake is made we are truly sorry and we make it right.”

* Speaking of Qwest, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission suspended the company’s request to charge end users $1 per month to keep addresses out of directory listings and phone books. The PUC wanted time to conduct hearings on the reasonableness of the proposed charge. Qwest customers opting for the so-called “omit address” service would have been billed an $8.50 initial transaction fee and a buck a month. Businesses would have been charged a $12 set-up fee. Qwest said initially that the fee was justified because keeping a customer’s address private costs money, and such a service has value to some consumers. But feeling the pressure from the Colorado PUC, Qwest in late October dumped the controversial plan.

*
The Florida Public Service Commission refused to impose structural separation on BellSouth Corp., dismissing staff recommendations on an AT&T Corp. petition to divide the carrier into separate wholesale and retail units. Florida regulators, like many of their counterparts around the country, said that such a split isn’t justified.

Regulatory
Links

Arizona Attorney General www.attorneygeneral.state.az.us
AT&T Corp. www.att.com
BellSouth Corp. www.bellsouth.com
Colorado Public Utilities Commission www.dora.state.co.us/puc
Competitive Enterprise Institute www.cei.org
Federal Communications Commission www.fcc.gov
Florida Public Service Commission www.psc.state.fl.us
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLC www.manatt.com
National Telephone Cooperative Association www.ntca.org
Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies
www.opastco.org
Qwest Communications International Inc. www.qwest.com
United States Telecom Association www.usta.org
U.S. Supreme Court www.supremecourtus.gov
WorldCom Inc. www.wcom.com


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