Summary: S.271 — 97th Congress (1981-1982)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Senate agreed to House amendment with amendment (12/16/1981)

(Senate agreed to House amendments with an amendment)

Record Carrier Competition Act of 1981 - Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to eliminate the current provisions governing consolidations and mergers of telegraph carriers except with respect to certain contracts between domestic and international record carriers. Requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to promote the development of fully competitive domestic and international markets for record communications service. Defines "record communications service" to mean those services traditionally offered by telegraph companies, such as telegraph, telegram, telegram exchange, and similar services involving an interconnected network of teletypewriters. Defines "record carriers" as carriers of such service. Excludes from the definition of record carriers those common carriers that derive a majority of their revenues from services other than record communications service.

Requires the FCC to reduce its regulation of record carriers as competition develops. Prohibits record carriers from imposing upon users of regulated record communications services the cost of any other services or facilities.

Directs the FCC to require each record carrier, upon reasonable request, to provide full interconnection with any of its record communications facilities. Requires a written agreement covering the provision of such interconnection.

Requires that any agreement covering interconnection needed for international record communications service must provide that the allocation of record communications service between points outside the United States and points of entry in the United States shall be on a pro rata share of such service between points of exit out of the United States and points outside the United States provided by the carrier requesting the interconnection.

Exempts certain carriers from such requirement.

Treats a record carrier which provides both domestic and international record communications services as a separate domestic and a separate international record carrier for purposes of interconnection. Requires such a carrier to furnish the same quality interconnection terms to its domestic or international branch as it furnishes to other carriers. Exempts a record carrier from such requirements if it does not have a significant share of the market for record communications services.

Requires that any agreement between record carriers on furnishing record communications services or facilities establish a non-discriminatory formula for allocation based on costs to the extent possible.

Directs the FCC to convene a meeting among all record carriers which would be parties to an interconnection agreement. States that the purpose of the meeting shall be to negotiate such agreement. Requires the FCC to establish an agreement if certain carriers fail to agree. Authorizes a record carrier not subject to the agreement to become subject to the agreement by furnishing written notice to the FCC and the existing parties to the agreement.

Authorizes the FCC to modify or vacate an interconnection agreement if it is inconsistent with developing a competitive market or if it unjustly discriminates against any record carrier.

Denies the FCC the authority, for a specified time, to take any final action with respect to an application by the Western Union Telegraph Company for authority to provide international record communications service.

Authorizes all record carriers, subject to one limitation, to provide record communications service domestically and internationally. Authorizes record carriers that want to provide domestic record communications service to provide such service without applying to the FCC unless the FCC requires such an application. Directs the FCC to act expeditiously on such applications.

Terminates the provisions of this Act relating to interconnection agreements three years after enactment. Exempts from such termination those provisions requiring nondiscriminatory treatment of domestic and international branches of carriers providing interconnection services.

Extends for one year after enactment the FCC oversight of the distribution formulas for unrouted outbound telegraph traffic and the revenue allocations with respect to such traffic.

Amends the Rock Island Transition and Employee Assistance Act to grant the Interstate Commerce Commission the authority to authorize continued rail service over the lines of the Rock Island Railroad until the disposition of the properties of the railroad. Terminates such authority on a specific date.