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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 3, 1994


The introduction today of the "Communications Act of 1994" marks an important step toward fulfilling the President's goal of congressional action this year that ensures the creation of the National Information Infrastructure. The Administration particularly commends the leadership of Chairman Hollings, Senators Inouye, Danforth and Stevens as well as the bill's co- sponsors for their leadership in moving this process forward.

Since the President issued that challenge in his State of the Union Address on January 25th, Congress has begun hearings on legislation pending in the House of Representatives and today legislation has been introduced in the Senate.

These actions demonstrate growing consensus and momentum behind the goal that the President established and the principles earlier enunciated by the Vice President.

As explained in the Vice President's January 11th address, the Administration's vision of the National Information Infrastructure is driven by five basic principles: to promote investment, to provide and protect competition, to secure open access, to provide for universal service, and to ensure that government regulation is itself flexible and adaptable.

Each of these principles is reflected in the provisions of the "Communications Act of 1994." Its first three titles directly address the need for universal service, telecommunications investment, and regulatory reform. Its provisions addressing the future activities of Regional Bell Operating Companies and the ability of telephone companies to provide cable service represent an effort to achieve the dual goals of more competition and the protection of fair competition. And the mandate that telecommunications carriers provide nondiscriminatory access and interconnection to their facilities serves to further the goal of open access for all companies providing telecommunications and information services. The Administration remains committed to ensuring the role of the Department of Justice in approving the entry of the Regional Bell Operating Companies into long distance.

The Administration is particularly pleased that the Senate bill echoes the challenge issued by the President and Vice President -- that all classrooms, libraries, hospitals and clinics be connected to the National Information Infrastructure.

This bill heads in the right direction. As the legislative process goes forward, the Administration looks forward to working with the bill's sponsor and other members of the Senate on the final version of Senate legislation. In discussions with members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Administration will continue to emphasize the principles outlined in the Vice President's speech and the specific proposals set forth in Administration white papers.

The Administration looks forward to continuing its close work with Congress in the creation and enactment of comprehensive legislation this year that will enable all Americans to enjoy the benefits of an advanced information infrastructure.