Letter Sent to Administration to Consider the Telecommunications Association v. FCC Ruling
March 16, 2004
Washington, DC - Congressman Gene Green (D-Houston), along with Congressmen Steve Buyer (R-IN), Rick Boucher (D-VA), and John Shimkus (R-IL) led a strong bipartisan letter signed by over 100 Members of Congress urging President Bushs Administration not to appeal the recent U.S District Court decision U.S. Telecommunications Association v. FCC.
In the eight years since the 1996 Act, the FCC has yet to get it right, said Rep. Green. The courts have rejected them for the third time; we should not waste time and money on a counter-productive appeal to the Supreme Court. We have an impressive group of bipartisan Members on our letter, and the Administration should heed their call.
The ruling threw out the FCCs rules for unbundling the network elements (UNEs) of local phone companies, which had been set forth in the Triennial Review decision released in February 2003. UNE rules require local phone companies to lease out their facilities to competitors at government-set, below-cost rates, thus hindering investment in telecommunications networks by those that own them.
The way to spur investment in the Texas telecommunications industry is to allow competition to exist in the market, Green continued. We will have healthy competition between local phone companies, long distance companies, cable companies, and wireless companies long after UNE regulations are gone. New Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services offered by cable companies and new startups outside the UNE program prove local phone competition does not need the FCCs UNE regime.