>APT filed a petition on February 18, 1998, urging the FCC to undertake >simultaneous inquiry and rulemaking proceedings. The petition, suggests >specific measures for removing barriers to advanced network investment >and for affirmatively stimulating such investment. APT believes that >its proactive recommendations are a necessary corollary to easing >certain regulatory restrictions that discourage ILECs and new entrants >from building new sophisticated network facilities. Issues have been raised relating APT's sponsorship by local phone companies (see <http://www.apt.org/sponafflt.html>) and APT's call for the removal of "barriers to advanced network investment." These "barriers" are the FCC rules that were intended to encourage competition in the local telecom marketplace, i.e. competition with APT's sponsors. I'm certainly in favor of providing advanced telecommunications services to senior citizens, disabled persons, minorities, women and small businesses, but I don't think that removing pro-competitive local phone company requirements is the best means of ensuring those goals. Michael Chui [log in to unmask] P.S. If those requirements are ill-crafted, and don't actually encourage local competition, then they should be fixed. But I'm not yet convinced by big, local phone monopolies threatening a loss of "universal service" to senior citizens, disabled persons, minorities and children if such requirements are not lifted.