Summary: H.R.3636 — 103rd Congress (1993-1994)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (06/28/1994)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Telecommunications Infrastructure and Competition

Title II: Communications Competitiveness

Title III: Procurement Practices of Telecommunications

Providers

Title IV: Federal Communications Commission

Resources

National Communications Competition and Information Infrastructure Act of 1994 - Title I: Telecommunications Infrastructure and Competition - Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to state that the duty of a common carrier to furnish communications services includes the duty to interconnect with the facilities and equipment of other providers of telecommunications and information services (services) in accordance with FCC regulations with respect to the openness and accessibility of common carrier networks.

Requires local telephone exchange service carriers to provide equal access and interconnection with its network facilities upon request to any other carrier or person providing services so that such networks are fully interoperable. Directs the FCC to establish reasonable compensation rates to the carrier for such services.

Requires the convening of a Federal-State Joint Board to determine equal access and interconnection standards. Preempts contrary State law, but permits: (1) a State to impose a term or condition on service providers which does not effectively prohibit providing interstate or intrastate service and which is necessary to protect public safety and welfare and to ensure the continued quality of intrastate telecommunications, just and reasonable rates for intrastate telecommunications services, or business practices consistent with consumer protection laws and regulations; and (2) a local government to require a person or carrier to obtain ordinary and usual construction or similar permits if such permit is required without regard to the nature of the business and if requiring such permit does not effectively prohibit any carrier from providing any interstate or intrastate service.

Sets forth special provisions applicable to commercial mobile services.

Prohibits a local government from imposing or collecting any franchise or other charge as a condition for operating in the locality or for obtaining access to, occupying, or crossing public rights-of-way from any provider of telecommunications services that distinguishes between or among such providers, including the local exchange carrier.

Requires: (1) local exchange carriers to prepare and file tariffs with respect to services or elements offered to comply with such standards, along with supporting information; and (2) the FCC to review such tariffs.

Directs the FCC to determine whether a telecommunications service or provider of such service is or will be subject to reasonable competition and to take appropriate action thereafter. Requires the establishment of a Federal-State Joint Board to recommend actions to the FCC and State commissions for the preservation of universal service.

Requires the FCC to prescribe regulations: (1) prohibiting certain cross subsidies; and (2) ensuring telecommunications number portability.

Directs the FCC, at least every three years, to review standards and requirements concerning equal access, interconnection, and the preservation of universal service. Requires such review to include a study of telephone exchange service furnished by rural carriers.

Includes among the duties of a communications service provider the duty to furnish such service in accordance with FCC regulations concerning functionality and reliability.

Directs the FCC to: (1) initiate an inquiry to consider and prescribe regulations to implement regulations and policies necessary to make open platform service (a switched, end-to-end digital telecommunication service) available to subscribers at reasonable rates; (2) establish a procedure to waive temporarily specific provisions of the regulations if a local exchange carrier demonstrates that compliance would be economically or technically infeasible or would delay the deployment of new facilities with improved capabilities or efficiencies that will be used to meet the requirements of open platform services; (3) conduct an inquiry concerning the deployment of open platform service and other advance telecommunications network capabilities; (4) prescribe regulations to ensure that advances in network services deployed by local exchange carriers shall be accessible by individuals with disabilities, unless the cost would result in an undue burden or adverse competitive impact, and to conduct a proceeding, at least every three years, in which interested parties may comment on whether the regulations have ensured such accessibility; and (5) establish network reliability and quality performance measures to ensure the continued maintenance and evolution of common carrier facilities and service. Provides certain regulatory exemptions for rural areas.

Directs the FCC to prescribe regulations that require local exchange carriers to make available to qualifying carriers such public switched telecommunications network technology and information and telecommunications facilities and functions as may be requested to enable such a carrier to provide telecommunications services, or access to information services, in the geographic area in which that carrier has requested and obtained designation as the qualifying carrier.

Preempts a cable franchising authority's regulation of telecommunications services.

(Sec. 103) Directs: (1) the FCC to promote the provision of advanced telecommunications services by wire, wireless, cable, and satellite technologies to educational institutions, health care institutions, and public libraries; and (2) the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to conduct a nationwide annual survey of the availability of such services to such institutions and libraries.

Directs the FCC to: (1) issue a notice of proposed rulemaking for regulations that, among other things, enhance the availability of such services to all educational institutions and classrooms, health care institutions, and public libraries by the year 2000; and (2) assess the feasibility of including postsecondary educational institutions in any such regulations.

(Sec. 104) Directs the FCC to: (1) issue a final determination within 180 days after a complaint concerning an alleged discriminatory interconnection; and (2) provide for the expedited licensing of new technologies or services related to the furnishing of telecommunications services.

(Sec. 106) Requires any application filed for authority to construct or extend a line to address the means by which such construction or extension will meet the network access needs of individuals with disabilities.

(Sec. 107) Directs the FCC to: (1) prescribe regulations for ensuring that utilities charge just and reasonable and nondiscriminatory rates for pole attachments provided for providers of telecommunications services; (2) study policies that will enhance civic participation through the national information infrastructure; (3) conduct a study of how to encourage citizen participation in regulatory issues; and (4) initiate a rulemaking proceeding for the purpose of lowering market entry barriers for small business, business concerns owned by women and members of minority groups, and nonprofit entities that are seeking to provide services.

Title II: Communications Competitiveness - Amends the Act to allow a common telecommunications services carrier to provide video programming (cable television service) directly to subcribers in the telephone service area, as long as the video programming is provided through a video programming affiliate that is separate from such carrier (with separate books, records and accounts). Sets forth rules and regulations concerning interaction and business transactions between a common carrier and an affiliate with respect to the provision of video programming services.

Requires the common carrier with a video programming affiliate to establish a video platform. Requires such a carrier to submit a notice to the FCC of its intention to establish channel capacity for the provision of video programming to meet the bona fide demand for such capacity. Sets forth provisions regarding responses to requests for carriage and to changes in demand or capacity. Grants the FCC the authority to resolve disputes with respect to establishment of video platforms. Directs the FCC to prescribe regulations regarding video platforms and to extend regulations regarding video platforms and to extend such regulations to other high capacity systems. Requires carriers to certify compliance with equal access requirements, with exceptions.

Prohibits a common carrier from: (1) cross-subsidizing costs of telephone service with costs of video programming service among its customers; and (2) buying out a cable system located within its telephone exchange area and owned by an unaffiliated person.

Directs the FCC to convene a Federal-State Joint Board to recommend a decision concerning the practices, classifications, and regulations necessary to ensure proper jurisdictional separation and cost allocation of establishing and providing a video platform. Provides for: (1) the applicability of franchising and other requirements; and (2) rural area exemptions from certain provisions of the Act.

(Sec. 202) Directs the FCC to: (1) modify, maintain, or remove the ownership regulations on radio and TV broadcasters as necessary to ensure that broadcasters are able to compete fairly with other information providers while protecting the goals of diversity and localism; and (2) review the ownership restriction under the Act with respect to cable operators and report to the Congress on whether such restriction continues to serve the public interest.

(Sec. 204) Requires the FCC, if it determines to issue additional licenses for advanced TV services, and it initially limits the eligibility for such licenses to persons that are licensed to operate a TV broadcast station or that hold a permit to construct such a station (or both), to adopt regulations that allow such licensees or permittees to offer such ancillary or supplementary services on designated frequencies as may be consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity.

(Sec. 205) Directs the FCC to examine and report to the Congress on the impact of the convergence of technologies on cable, telephone, satellite, and wireless and other communications technologies likely to offer interactive communications services.

(Sec. 206) Requires the FCC to: (1) complete an inquiry to ascertain the level at which video programming is closed captioned and prescribe regulations to ensure that video programming is fully accessible through the provision of closed captions; and (2) commence an inquiry to examine the use of video descriptions on video programming to ensure accessibility to persons with visual impairments.

Requires the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to establish, oversee, and provide financial support for marketplace tests of video descriptions on commercial and noncommercial video programming services.

(Sec. 207) Directs the FCC to prescribe regulations to reserve appropriate capacity for the public at preferential rates on cable systems and video platforms.

(Sec. 208) Provides that a ship documented under U.S. laws operating in accordance with the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System provisions of the Safety of Life at the Sea Convention shall not be required to be equipped with a radio station operated by one or more radio officers or operators.

(Sec. 209) Provides for exclusive Federal jurisdiction over direct broadcast satellite service.

(Sec. 211) Requires cable operators to inform subscribers of the right to request and obtain devices to preclude display of encrypted programming. Directs the FCC to require the transmission of such programming by means of encrypted signals that permit subscribers to effectively and entirely prevent the display of both the audio and video portions of such programming with or without the use of such a device.

Title III: Procurement Practices of Telecommunications Providers - Directs the FCC to: (1) require each provider of telecommunications services to submit a detailed and verifiable plan for increasing its procurement from business enterprises that are owned by minorities or women in all categories of procurement in which minorities are underrepresented; and (2) establish regulations for implementing programs pursuant to this title that will govern providers of telecommunications services and their affiliates.

(Sec. 304) Sets penalties for: (1) falsely representing a business as an enterprise owned by minorities or women in procuring contracts from telephone operating companies and their affiliates; and (2) a provider of telecommunications services falsely representing its annual report to the FCC or its implementation of programs.

Prohibits discrimination against an otherwise qualified business enterprise that is owned by minorities or women solely by reason of its racial, ethnic, or gender composition in the procurement of contracts from telephone utilities. Authorizes civil actions for violations and permits the court to allow the prevailing party reasonable attorney's fees and costs.

Title IV: Federal Communications Commission Resources - Authorizes appropriations to the FCC.