CONGRESSMAN UNDERWOOD SAYS RUMORS

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ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD Congressional Delegate From Guam U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

NEWS RELEASE March 16, 1999

OF IMPENDING FCC PER-MINUTE INTERNET CHARGES ARE NOT TRUE

In response to numerous email inquiries regarding a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plan to charge consumers for access to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Congressman Robert A. Underwood learned direct from the FCC that no such plan exists.

"The telephone industry is engaged in a dispute over whether or not Internet Service Providers are subject to the carrier-to-carrier payments that are known as ‘reciprocal compensation.’ Since the FCC has indeed been looking into this issue, I think some Internet users may be misinterpreting that effort," Congressman Underwood said. "The FCC informs me they have no plan to assess per-minute charges on internet traffic or to change how consumers access the internet."

Reciprocal compensation is what local phone companies receive for completing calls made by their competitors’ customers. The erroneous information about a per-minute charge plan may stem from a misunderstanding of a February 25, 1999 FCC ruling on reciprocal compensation. The FCC is considering whether ISPs are subject to reciprocal compensation, but it is not looking into how consumers obtain or pay for Internet access. Additionally, the February ruling did not affect the exemption that Internet and other information services have from interstate access charges.

"The FCC assures me that this means that consumers can continue to access the Internet without incurring long distance charges," Underwood said.

The Congressman said that the FCC has prepared a Fact Sheet about the issue and he has posted a copy on his website at http://www.house.gov./underwood.

For additional information: Cathy Gault

TEL: (671) 475-2404

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