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March 20, 2003, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 627.
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FCC Approves Verizon Long Distance Applications for Maryland, WV & DC

3/19. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the Section 271 applications of Verizon to provide in region interLATA services in the states of Maryland and West Virginia and in the District of Columbia. This now provides Verizon authority to provide long distance service in all of its territory, and hence, nationwide.

The FCC concluded in its Order that "Verizon has taken the statutorily required steps to open its local exchange markets in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia to competition." See, FCC release [2 pages in PDF] and Memorandum Opinion and Order [246 pages in PDF]. See also, Verizon release.

Commissioner Michael Copps wrote in a separate statement [1 page in PDF] that he concurred, but added that "the majority concludes that the statute permits Bell companies in all instances to demonstrate compliance with the checklist by aggregating the rates for non-loop elements. I disagree with the majority's analysis. I believe the better reading of the statute is that the rate for each network element must comport with Congress’ pricing directive."

He also wrote that "Our present data on whether competition is taking hold is sketchy and non-integrated. We need better data to evaluate whether and how approved carriers are complying with their obligations after grant of the application, as Congress required."

Commissioner Kevin Martin wrote in a separate statement [3 pages in PDF] that he concurred, but disagreed with the FCC's statutory analysis regarding the standard for reviewing the pricing of individual unbundled network elements. He wrote that "the Commission finds that the statute does not require it to evaluate individually the checklist compliance of UNE TELRIC rates on an element-by-element basis. The Commission concludes that because the statute uses the plural term ``elements,´´ it has the discretion to ignore subsequent reference to prices for a particular ``element´´ in the singular." Martin wrote, "I disagree".

Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein responded. He wrote in a separate statement [2 pages in PDF] that "Today the Commission is following established precedent in finding that the statute does not require it to evaluate individually the checklist compliance of UNE TELRIC rates on an element by element basis. Although some have raised concerns regarding this sort of analysis, I believe that the Commission has correctly interpreted the statute regarding this determination."

This is Docket No. 02-384. For more information, contact Gail Cohen at 202 418-1580.

Verizon Says It Has Broadband Deployment Plans

3/19. Verizon announced in a release that it "is adding more than 10 million new lines to the 36 million now equipped with digital subscriber line (DSL) service from Verizon. By year's end Verizon Online broadband service will be available to millions of homes not now served, primarily in suburban and rural communities, making broadband available on 80 percent of all Verizon lines."

Verizon also stated that "New technology being deployed by Verizon will expand the market coverage of its digital subscriber line broadband service by pushing its reach beyond the current limit of three miles of copper wire. The company will put DSL equipment in more than 3,000 neighborhood terminals that are connected to the Verizon network with fiber-optic cables, and it will put DSL equipment in approximately 1,000 additional neighborhood switching centers."

It also stated that "DSL is a first-generation broadband technology used with copper lines. However, Verizon already is serving most larger businesses on fiber links, and the company expects that fiber-optic technology ultimately will become the preferred communications medium to reach homes as well as businesses."

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Kevin Martin issued a statement in which he praised Verizon's announcement.

On February 20, the FCC issued a press release [2 pages in PDF] and an attachment [4 pages in PDF] in which it briefly described what its Triennial Review order will some day provide. This order pertains to the Section 251 unbundling obligations of incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs), such as Verizon.

The FCC's releases contain several statements relevant to broadband deployment. For example, the FCC stated that "Incumbent LECs are not required to unbundle packet switching, including routers and DSLAMs, as a stand alone network element. The order eliminates the current limited requirement for unbundling of packet switching."

The FCC also stated: "Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Loops -- There is no unbundling requirement for new build/greenfield FTTH loops for both broadband and narrowband services. There is no unbundling requirement for overbuild/brownfield FTTH loops for broadband services. Incumbent LECs must continue to provide access to a transmission path suitable for providing narrowband service if the copper loop is retired."

The FCC also stated: "Hybrid Loops -- There are no unbundling requirements for the packet-switching features, functions, and capabilities of incumbent LEC loops. Thus, incumbent LECs will not have to provide unbundled access to a transmission path over hybrid loops utilizing the packet-switching capabilities of their DLC systems in remote terminals. Incumbent LECs must provide, however, unbundled access to a voice-grade equivalent channel and high capacity loops utilizing TDM technology, such as DS1s and DS3s."

Finally, the FCC stated that "the Commission will no longer require that line-sharing be available as an unbundled element".

Verizon Vice Chairman Lawrence Babbio stated that "if the FCC's final order as it relates to broadband is written the way it's been advertised that will encourage us to speed our deployment of all broadband technologies."

Deputy Assistant USTR Testifies Re Lack of Transparency and IPR Enforcement in China

3/19. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs held a hearing titled the "Effects and Consequences of an Emerging China". Charles Freeman, a Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), wrote in his prepared testimony about the progress and shortcomings in PR China's efforts to comply with its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments. He addresses lack of transparency and lack of enforcement of intellectual property rights.

He stated that "One area of cross-cutting concern involved transparency. In particular, China implemented its commitment to greater transparency in the adoption and operation of new laws and regulations unevenly at best. While some ministries and agencies did take steps to improve opportunities for public comment on draft laws and regulations, and to provide appropriate WTO enquiry points, the Administration found China's overall effort to be plagued by uncertainty and a lack of uniformity. The Administration is committed to seeking improvements in China's efforts in this area."

He continued that "Apart from this systemic concern, three other areas generated significant problems and warrant continued U.S. scrutiny -- agriculture, intellectual property rights and services. ... In the area of intellectual property rights (IPR), China did make significant improvements to its framework of laws and regulations. However, the lack of effective IPR enforcement remained a major challenge. If significant improvements are to be achieved on this front, China will have to devote considerable resources and political will to this problem, and there will continue to be a need for sustained efforts from the United States and other WTO members."

More Trade News

3/19. The Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the Department of Labor published a notice in the Federal Register requesting public comment regarding the proposed U.S. Central America free trade agreement (CAFTA). This FTA includes provisions pertaining to electronic commerce, telecommunications services, and the protection of intellectual property rights. Comments are due by April 25, 2003. See, Federal Register, March 19, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 53, at Pages 13358 - 13359. See also, the USTR's web page for the CAFTA.

3/19. The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) published a notice in the Federal Register stating that it has instituted an investigation regarding the proposed U.S. Chile free trade agreement (FTA). The USITC stated that it will assess the effect of this FTA on "United States economy as a whole and on specific industry sectors and the interests of U.S. consumers". See, Federal Register, March 19, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 53, at Pages 13324. See also, the USTR's December 2002 summary [PDF] of the Chile FTA, and President Bush's January 30, 2003 notice to Congress. This FTA includes provisions pertaining to electronic commerce, telecommunications services, and the protection of intellectual property rights.

3/19. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) submitted two papers to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The first paper [6 pages in PDF] is titled "Identification of Certain Major Issues Under the Antidumping and Subsidies Agreements". The second paper [7 pages in PDF] is titled "Subsidies Disciplines Requiring Clarification and Improvement". The USTR stated in a release. that these papers "make the case for strengthening global trade rules against unfair trade practices, such as providing government subsidies to industries, and dumping -- selling goods at unfairly low prices."

More News

3/19. The passed HR 975, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2003, by a vote of 315-113. See, Roll Call No. 74. See also, statement in the House made by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the sponsor of the bill. Sections 231 and 232 of the bill pertain to protection of personally identifiable information in bankruptcy proceedings. The bill has not yet been passed in the Senate.

3/19. The U.S. Court of Appeals (6thCir) issued its opinion in Amway v. Northfield Insurance, a breach of contract claim brought by an insured against its excess liability carrier alleging wrongful refusal to indemnify under an advertising injury clause for losses associated with the settlement of two copyright infringement lawsuits. The District Court granted summary judgment to the insurer. The Appeals Court reversed and remanded.

3/17. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) awarded a $280,081 grant to the Ministry of Communications (MoC) of Afghanistan to fund a feasibility study on a proposed telecommunications backbone project. The USTDA stated in a release that "The MoC proposes to build a 3300km backbone ring linking many principal Afghan cities. In addition, the backbone will provide connectivity to international cable facilities." The USTDA added that "Afghanistan has one of the weakest telecommunications systems in the world with only one out of every 625 Afghans having access to telephone services."

3/19. The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) released a report titled "Why Am I Getting All This Spam?
Unsolicited Commercial E-mail Research Six Month Report".

Adelstein Names Assistants

3/19. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein announced that Barry Ohlson will be his permanent Wireless Legal Advisor and that Johanna Mikes will be his permanent Media Advisor, effective March 31. See, release.

Mikes is currently a legislative assistant to Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), where she has worked on intellectual property issues associated with new media. Rep. Boucher is the sponsor of HR 107, the "Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act of 2003", a bill that would provide a fair use exception to the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). He is also a cosponsor of HR 1066, the "Benefit Authors without Limiting Advancement or Net Consumer Expectations (BALANCE) Act of 2003". He also sponsored, in the 107th Congress, HR 2724, the "Music Online Competition Act", which is also known as MOCA. Rep. Boucher has been one of the most active and effective opponents in the House of the entertainment industries on intellectual property issues.

Mikes will replace Sarah Whitesell, who has been interim Media Advisor since Adelstein joined the FCC in December 2002. Mikes worked at the FCC as Attorney Advisor in the Policy and Program Planning Division of the Common Carrier Bureau before working for Rep. Boucher. Before that, she was an attorney in the Washington DC office of the law firm of Latham & Watkins.

Ohlson has been Adelstein's interim wireless legal advisor since Adelstein joined the FCC. Previously, Ohlson was Chief of the Policy Division in the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. He also worked as a Legal Advisor to the Wireless Bureau Chief and as acting Chief of the Public Safety and Private Wireless Division. Before that, he worked for Winstar Communications. And before that, he worked as an attorney in the law firms of McDermott Will & Emery and Keller and Heckman.

More People and Appointments

3/18. The Senate confirmed Ellen Weintraub and Michael Toner to be Commissioners of the Federal Election Commission. See, FEC release.

3/11. Joseph Papovich was named SVP, International of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). He previously worked for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) as Assistant USTR for Services, Investment and Intellectual Property. James Mendenhall replaced him at the USTR. See, RIAA release and USTR release.

3/19. Paul Twomey was named P/CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), replacing Stuart Lynn. See, release.

3/19. Former Vice President Al Gore joined the Board of Directors of Apple. See, Apple release.

Thursday, March 20

The House will meet at 10:00 AM for legislative business. The Supreme Court is in recess until March 23.

9:30 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an executive business meeting. The agenda includes consideration of several judicial nominees, including Priscilla Owen (to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit) and Cormac Carney and James Selna (to be Judges of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California). See, notice. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

10:00 AM. The Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary will hold a hearing on the President's budget request for fiscal year 2004 for the Department of Commerce. Location: Room S-146, Capitol Building.

10:00 AM. Dane Snowden, Chief of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, will hold a media briefing to discuss the work of the bureau, including telemarketing reform, slamming rules, disability issues, tribal issues, and consumer outreach. RSVP to Rosemary Kimball at 202 418-05111 or Location: Conference Room CY B-511.

10:30 AM. The House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing. Tom Ridge, the Secretary of Homeland Security, will testify. Location: Room 2359, Rayburn Building.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee will host a luncheon panel discussion titled "Government Pattern Analysis: Securing Terrorists While Preserving Privacy?" Peter Swire of Ohio State University will moderate. RSVP to or 202 638-4370. Location: Room HC-5, Capitol Building.

1:00 PM. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property will meet to mark up two bills, including HR 1303, a bill to amend the E-Government Act of 2002 with respect to rulemaking authority of the Judicial Conference. Location: Room 2141, Rayburn Building.

Friday, March 21

10:00 AM. The Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary will hold a hearing on President Bush's budget request for fiscal year 2004 for the Department of Commerce (DOC). Location: Room S-146, Capitol.

12:15 PM. Jim Bird (head of the Federal Communications Commission's Office of General Counsel's Transactional Team), Don Stockdale (FCC's Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis), Walt Strack (FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau), and Jim Barker (Latham & Watkins) will speak at a luncheon on FCC antitrust merger reviews. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) web site states that "This meeting will be off the record". For more information, contact Lauren Kravetz at 202 418-7944 or This event had originally been scheduled for February 19, but was postponed due to snow. Location: Willkie Farr & Gallagher, 1875 K St., NW.

Monday, March 24

The Supreme Court will return from recess.

4:00 PM. Polk Wagner (University of Pennsylvania Law School) will present a draft paper titled "Is the Federal Circuit Succeeding? An Empirical Look at Claim Construction". For more information, contact Robert Brauneis at 202 994-6138 or Location: George Washington University Law School, Faculty Conference Center, Burns Building, 5th Floor, 720 20th Street, NW.

Deadline to submit applications to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for financial assistance for FY 2003 for its 2003 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) in several areas, including electronics and electrical engineering and information technology. See, notice in the Federal Register, February 20, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 34, at Pages 8211-8226.

Tuesday, March 25

10:00 AM. The Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on the proposed budget for FY 2004 for the Department of Homeland Security. Location: Room 106, Dirksen Building.

Wednesday, March 26

Deadline to submit requests to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to participate as a panelist in its workshops regarding the role of technology in helping consumers and businesses protect the privacy of personal information, including the steps taken to keep their information secure. The FTC will hold a workshop titled "The Consumer Experience" on May 14, and another workshop titled "The Business Experience" on June 4. See, FTC release and notice in the Federal Register, February 26, 2003, Vol. 68, No. 38, at Pages 8904 - 8906.

9:30 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on pending judicial nominees, including Edward Prado (to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit), Cecilia Altonaga (Southern District of Florida), Richard Bennett (District of Maryland), Dee Drell (Western District of Louisiana), Leon Holmes (Eastern District of Arkansas), Susan Braden (Federal Claims), and Charles Lettow (Federal Claims). Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

12:15 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Online Communications Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The topic will be "wireline broadband issues". The speaker will be Brent Olson, Deputy Chief of the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau's Competition Policy Division.  No RSVP is necessary. Location: Kelley Drye & Warren, 1200 19th St., NW, Suite 500.

Thursday, March 27

8:00 AM - 2:30 PM. The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) will host a conference titled "Securing Cyberspace: A Government Industry Partnership for the Future". At 8:30 AM, Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, will speak. At 8:55 AM, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), Chairman of the House Science Committee, will speak. At 9:55 AM, Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT), will speak. At 1:30 PM, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) will speak. The ITAA states that the event is "By invitation only" and "Expected Attendees: Hill Members and Staff, Public Media, Industry Reps. & other Public/Private Sector partners". See, notice. Location: Room G-50, Dirksen Building.

11:00 AM. The Cato Institute will host a book forum on the book The Half-Life of Policy Rationales: How New Technology Affects Old Policy Issues [Amazon sales rank on March 16: 1,844,100]. The speakers will be Daniel Klein (co-editor), Jerry Ellig (Acting Director, Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission), Donald Boudreaux (George Mason University), and Robert Atkinson (Progressive Policy Institute). Lunch will follow. See, notice and registration page. Location: Cato, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.

6:00 - 8:00 PM. The Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) will host a CLE seminar titled "What Every Practitioner Needs to Know about Telecommunications Access - Policy and Practice Related to Persons with Disabilities". The speakers will be Bryan Tramont (FCC), Tom Chandler (FCC), Richard Ellis (Sprint), Mike Fingerhut (Sprint), Pam Gregory (FCC), Karen Strauss (Gallaudet University), Paul Schroeder (American Foundation for the Blind), and Claude Stout (Telecommunications for the Deaf). The prices to attend range from $50 to $80. RSVP to Wendy Parish at Location: Wiley Rein & Fielding, 1750 K St., NW, 10th Floor.

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