The direction for telecommunications must be toward a uniform national delivery service, one that does not require national elements of the industry to subsidize local services and vice versa, said a member of the Federal Communications Commission.
Andrew Barrett made the remarks during the keynote address before the 6th Annual Conference on New Directions for State Telecommunications Regulation. The annual event is sponsored jointly by the Utah Public Service Commission, the Utah Division of Public Utilities and the University of Utah.Barrett also called on state and local utility regulators to work more closely with the FCC to develop policies and guidelines that maintain a needed balance for regulating the telecommunications industry. He said there is a need to move away from confrontive courtroom battles and instead improve communications between federal and state regulators to ensure that future policies protect telecommunications users from rate abuses while providing companies with the needed latitude for developing and implementing new technology.
The most difficult issue facing state and federal regulators, Barrett said, is developing a policy that properly delineates the jurisdictions of the FCC and local public service commissions. This delineation must ensure that cross-subsidies in companies affected by both jurisdictions are kept to a minimum. And, Barrett, added, efforts should be made to resolve issues before Congress decides legislation is needed to resolve differences.
Barrett said resolving the question of authority will also help telecommunications companies as they seek to develop and implement new technology. He said the needed national policy should also encourage telecommunications companies to provide all services possible and for those companies to reach their potential.