Resolution Lifting the Modification of Final Judgement Restriction on Long Distance Service Exposed
The Resolution Lifting the Modification of Final Judgement Restriction on Long Distance Service was included in the 1995 ALEC Sourcebook of American State Legislation. ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this piece of legislation after the launch of ALECexposed.org in 2011, but it has done nothing to get it repealed in the states where it previously pushed for it to be made into law.
ALEC Resolution Text
When the Bell telephone system was broken up in 1984, artificial boundaries were created by the court to differentiate local from long distance service. These unnaturally-imposed lines carry huge cost penalties for America’s consumers. Indeed, calls connected across these boundaries - no matter how close the connection - must be routed through both long distance and local carriers. For the customer, that means phone bills reflect two corporate overheads and additional costs associated with circuitous routing that increases the distance of a call.
WHEREAS advances in technology have brought our society into the information age; and
WHEREAS the national welfare will be greatly enhanced by bringing about the universal availability of the information age to the American people through the development and deployment of innovative technologies; and
WHEREAS the provision of long distance service, and the removal of judicially imposed restriction on the development and availability of such service, will stimulate and encourage the use of information age technology by the America people, and the development of an advanced telecommunications infrastructure throughout the nation in the most fair and efficient manner; and
WHEREAS it is imperative that states have the freedom to encourage telecommunications companies to provide new and innovative services and an efficient, reliable, state-of-the-art, and internationally competitive public telecommunications network to serve the growing needs of the people of the United States in both rural and urban communities; and
WHEREAS the following accounting and structural safeguards exist that prevent anti-competitive behavior:
- federal and state Open Network Architecture (ONA) requirements that ensure all providers equal access to local telephone networks;
- fully allocated cost accounting rules and a revised uniform system of accounts which prevent cross-subsidization by regulated carriers;
- implementation o f price cap regulation at the federal level and other forms of incentive regulation in many states that eliminate or reduce incentives to cross subsidize and include extensive service quality and network investment monitoring; and
- equal network access requirements that prevent discrimination against any inter-exchange carriers; and
WHEREAS the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the appropriate federal agency, in conjunction with appropriate state regulatory agencies, to ensure fair competition in the telecommunications industry, while protecting the interests of consumers; and
WHEREAS the court order on RBOCs,referred to as the “Modification of Final Judgement” (MFJ) has prevented some two-thirds of America’s domestically owned telecommunications industry from providing long distance service in competition with domestic and foreign telecommunications firms in the United States; and
WHEREAS it is the responsibility of Congress, rather than the courts, to determine telecommunications public policy including its effect on economic competitiveness, education reform, accessibility to health care, job creation, and criminal justice reform which are essential elements of a sound national telecommunications policy;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the state legislature calls upon the United States Congress to vigorously support legislation which would encourage universal service, standardize consumer access and, with the existing consumer and industry safeguards, encourage open market competition by allowing all local telephone companies to engage in the provision of long distance service; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the state legislature transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate and all members of the Congress of the United States.