Continuation of FCC Matter

Subject: Continuation of FCC Matter
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 11:16:13 -0600 (CST)

Date: Wed, 19 Feb 97 8:37:46 MST
To: <>
Subject: RE: Let the FCC know how you feel...

Janet Cook --
I saw a re-posting of  your letter about including docket information in 
correspondence with the FCC in a NovaeGroup e-zine today.  The following 
message was forwarded yesterday  to LIBNET (the CO library-information 
list) and several other lists by the CO state librarian.  Perhaps you've 
already seen it.  It deals with the same topic, but presents a different 
side of the telco/FCC issue.   I've included the names of the original 
authors should you have questions; the information and opinions are theirs. 
Perhaps you could pass this on to Bonnie Bracey, whose name, sans e-mail 
address, was included with your letter.  
e. hainer
From: 	Patrick Brunet []
	Jo Pearson []
Sent: 	Thursday, February 13, 1997 2:22 PM
To: 	Multiple recipients of Tourbus list
Subject: 	FWD: Don't Flame FCC!!! re internet surcharge

The information below is excerpted from today's (2/13) edition of the 
Internet Tourbus list...the information is certainly MOST valuable. Please 
forward as you think is appropriate, but be sure to credit Tourbus!  


Over the past couple of weeks, you may have received e-mail letters telling 
you that many local telephone companies have filed a proposal with the FCC 
[The United States' Federal Communications Commission] to impose per minute 
charges for Internet service.  They contend that use of Internet has or 
will hinder the operation of the telephone network.

At first, I thought that this was simply a new version of the old "modem 
tax" hoax ( that has 
been floating around the Net since *1987*.   After all, the current FCC 
story has all of the markings of a classic urban legend:

1.  It uses official-looking language;
2.  It mentions a government agency or an organization with which everyone 
is familiar;
3.  It contains a plea for you to take some sort of immediate action; and
4.  It requests that you forward the warning letter to as many people as 

Besides, according to an article that appeared in this morning's Edupage, 
companies' complaints that Internet usage is overwhelming their network 
capacity, the Internet Access Coalition has released findings contending 
that Net usage is, in reality, a bonanza for the Bells.  The study found 
that local carriers received a total of $1.4 billion in 1995 in revenues 
resulting from the installation of second lines in homes, while spending 
only $245 million to beef up their networks for the additional usage.  A 
Bell Atlantic spokesman says the real problem is that the telcos have no 
idea when a line will be used for data rather than voice, and thus tied up 
longer.  Both sides agree that the ultimate solution is higher capacity 
networks. (Business Week 17 Feb 97)

Well, out of curiosity -- and out of a deep-felt desire to avoid studying 
for the two major economics tests that I have next week -- your fearless 
bus driver decided to call the FCC in Washington to see if anyone there was 
willing to talk about this rather explosive issue.  Unfortunately, I soon 
discovered that the FCC only has one employee, she is a secretary, and her 
job is to transfer all incoming telephone calls into voice mail h*ll.  :)

Actually, I talked to some nice people at the FCC who faxed me a 10 page 
explanation of what's *really* going on.  Unfortunately, the 10 page 
explanation was written in "FCC-ese," so I am going to have to translate 
their explanation into English for you (and I can assure you that, since I 
know *NOTHING* about telephony, my translation will probably contain a few 
inaccuracies;  if it does, please let [the original poster] know).

First, some local telephone companies have indeed asked the FCC to allow 
them to assess a per minute access charge on the telephone lines used by 
Internet Service Providers.  Local telephone companies currently charge 
long-distance carriers (like AT&T and MCI) an interstate access charge for 
the long-distance traffic that travels over their local lines, and the 
local telephone companies would like to see this charge extended to include 
high-speed lines that your local Internet Service Provider uses to access 
the Internet.

In December, the FCC rejected the telephone companies' request and 
tentatively concluded "that the existing pricing structure for information 
services should remain in place."  In other words, the FCC has tentatively 
concluded that Internet service providers should *NOT* be subject to the 
interstate access charges that local telephone companies currently assess 
on long-distance carriers.

The FCC now seeks the public's comments on this conclusion.

Unfortunately, the "warning" letter that is currently circulating around 
the Internet gives the impression that some sort of sinister operation is 
afoot here, that the FCC and the telephone companies are trying to sneak 
this proposal through without anyone noticing, and that it is up to each 
and every one of us to stop the evil FCC.

What garbage.  In fact, the FCC has, at least tentatively, REJECTED the 
telephone companies' proposal.  The FCC is now simply asking you if you 
agree or disagree with their decision.

The most disappointing aspect of this whole situation is that because of 
the misinformation that has been distributed across the Internet over the 
past couple of weeks, the FCC has received 100,000+ e-mail letters, most of 
which flame them for making a decision that EVERYONE AGREES WITH!  Hands 
down, the flaming of the FCC is one of the Internet's most shameful acts 

I also discovered another thing about the FCC that increased my respect for 
their organization one-hundred-fold.  Part of the 10 page explanation that 
the FCC sent me states that their "existing rules have been designed for 
traditional circuit-switched voice networks, and thus may hinder the 
development of emerging packet-switched data networks."  Because of this, 
the FCC is also seeking the public's comments on the implications of the 
Internet and its usage through the public switched telephone network.

Folks, *ANY* government agency that stops and says 'hey, we can ALWAYS use 
some more information so that we are better prepared for whatever happens 
in the future' has earned my respect and admiration.

By the way, most of the information that I have shared with you today can 
be found on the FCC's "ISP" homepage at
Just got this and knew you would be interested:

If you would like to send your comments to the folks at the FCC (the 
deadline for comments about their decision not to impose interstate access 
changes on Internet service providers is Friday, February 14th), make sure 
that you check the FCC's ISP Web page first... Personally, I'm going to 
leave the poor folks at the FCC alone for a while. They seem to be doing a 
great job in the face of unnecessary (and misinformed) opposition.

Eugene 	Colorado State Library: 		Voice: 303-866-6730
Hainer	School Library Media Dev.		fax: 303-866-6940
		201 E. Colfax/Denver 80203

Janet K. Cook, Science Instructor, Night Program

Colorado's Finest Alternative High School
2323 W. Baker Ave., Englewood, CO 80110
Phone (303) 934-5786 (2:00 pm-10:30 pm)
Fax (303) 934-9183
Voice Mail (303)806-2000 x 1904

Cook Enterprises  Voice Mail  (303)692-3872