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AMERITECH SAYS MFJ BILL MASQUERADING AS POPULISM IS ANTI-CONSUMER AND ANTI-COMPETITIVE

 AMERITECH SAYS MFJ BILL MASQUERADING AS POPULISM
 IS ANTI-CONSUMER AND ANTI-COMPETITIVE
 WASHINGTON, May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- A proposal to block Ameritech and the six other regional Bell operating companies from manufacturing telecommunications equipment and software and from providing electronic information services and long-distance service is being introduced by Congressman Jack Brooks (D-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and its subcommittee on Economic and Commercial Law.
 The following reaction to the Brooks bill outline may be attributed to John Connarn, Ameritech vice president of federal relations:
 Ameritech Reaction
 "The Brooks proposal is anti-competitive, anti-consumer legislation masquerading as populism.
 "It is the wrong bill at the wrong time for the wrong reasons before the wrong House committee. Four wrongs don't make a right.
 "Freeing Ameritech and the other regional Bell operating companies to compete fully in the U.S. telecommunications marketplace is in the national interest. True competition in the American telecommunications industry will create jobs for American workers, yield new and improved products and services for American consumers and enhance the competitiveness of American businesses.
 "This proposal will prevent Ameritech and the regional companies from delivering to Americans the benefits of the information age.
 "That's why we oppose it.
 "It's also why the Brooks bill will be opposed by a growing coalition of more than 525 organizations and individuals -- national consumer, disabled, minority and senior advocates, educators, health care providers, small businesses, information service providers, small and medium-sized American telecommunications manufacturers, state and local government associations and unions -- who have joined together to advance America's telecommunications future."
 Background
 Congressman Brooks today released an outline of a bill he plans to introduce to codify the line-of-business restrictions imposed on the regional Bell operating companies at the time of the 1984 breakup of the Bell System.
 The Brooks bill, the Antitrust Reform Act of 1992, would reverse legislatively recent federal court rulings freeing the regional companies to provide information services to American consumers. The Brooks bill also is in stark contrast to a bill passed by the U.S. Senate in 1991 and a pending House companion measure to free the regional companies to research, design, develop and fabricate telecommunications equipment and software.
 Under the terms of the Modification of Final Judgment (MFJ), the AT&T divestiture consent decree, Ameritech and the other regional companies were barred from manufacturing, information services and most long-distance service.
 Last July 25, the U.S. District Court that administers the decree lifted the information services restriction imposed on the regional companies since 1984 but stayed the effect of the order pending completion of the appeals process. On Oct. 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals vacated the stay, and on Oct. 30, the U.S. Supreme Court, on a unanimous 8-0 vote, refused to reimpose the stay, thereby freeing the regional companies to enter the information services business.
 Last June 5, the Senate approved S. 173, the Telecommunications Equipment Research and Manufacturing Competition Act, authored by U.S. Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC), on a 71-24 vote. The Commerce Committee chairman's bill lifts the divestiture decree's manufacturing restriction, subject to stringent procompetitive safeguards. The Hollings bill also requires the regional companies to conduct all manufacturing activities within the U.S. and, as a result of a compromise by the companies and the Communications Workers of America, limits the amount of foreign-made components that may be used.
 A companion to the Hollings manufacturing bill, H.R. 1527, introduced in March 1991 by U.S. Reps. Jim Slattery (D-Kan.) and Billy Tauzin (D-La.), now is cosponsored by 133 House members. The Slattery Tauzin bill awaits consideration by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
 -0- 5/7/92
 /CONTACT: Peter M. Lincoln, 202-955-3058, or Mike Brand, 312-750-5219, both of Ameritech/
 (AIT) CO: Ameritech ST: Illinois IN: TLS SU:


SM -- NY075 -- 7664 05/07/92 13:17 EDT
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Date:May 7, 1992
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