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EFFector - Volume 7, Issue 11 - ALERT: Open Platform Update - House Vote on HR3636, HR3626 06/28/94


EFFector - Volume 7, Issue 11 - ALERT: Open Platform Update - House Vote on HR3636, HR3626 06/28/94

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EFFector Online Volume 07 No. 11      June 27, 1994
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation        ISSN 1062-9424

In This Issue:

ALERT: Open Platform Update - House Vote on HR3636, HR3626 06/28/94
Oregon PUC Request for Comments on ISDN Deployment
House Intelligence Committee Just Says No to Crypto Export
Republican Party Texas Denouces Clipper, DigTel, and ITAR Regs
PSI and Canter & Siegel Negotiate Net Access: No Spamming
SunFlash E-Journal Call for Papers: "UNIX and the Law" Symposium
"How Do I Get the Most Current EFFector?"
What YOU Can Do


Subject: ALERT: Open Platform Update - House Vote on HR3636, HR3626 06/28/94

EFF OPEN PLATFORM UPDATE                                   JUNE 27, 1994

        House Prepares to Vote on Landmark Communications Bills
         EFF's Open Platform Language Remains a Central Aspect

        On June 28, 1994, the full House of Representatives will vote on
landmark telecommunications legislation.   Two bills will be considered:
H.R. 3636, the "National Communications and Information Infrastructure Act
of 1994" (which contains EFF's Open Platform Proposal), and H.R. 3626, the
"Antitrust and Communications Reform Act of 1994" (which will  permit RBOCs
- local-loop telephone companies - to re-enter the long distance,
manufacturing, and information services markets).  Together, these bills
represent the most dramatic restructuring of communications law in more
than 60 years.  
Both bills are expected to pass easily, but your supporting faxes and
calls to your Representatives are still important.  See, 
/pub/EFF/Issues/Activism/govt_contact.list for a full list of Congressional
fax numbers.


H.R. 3636 seeks to promote the development of the National
Information Infrastructure (NII) through a combination of increased
competition and a new regulatory framework.  The bill would require local
telephone monopolies to provide equal access and interconnection to their
network, remove restrictions preventing telephone companies from providing
video services, and preserve and enhance the universal provision of
telecommunications services at affordable rates.  

There have been no major changes to the legislation since it was
marked up by the Energy and Commerce Committee on March 16, 1994.

Key points of the bill are analyzed below:


EFF believes that open platform service, available to all Americans
in the near-term at low cost, is key to promoting the democratic potential
of the NII.    Open platform service is designed to give residential and
commercial subscribers access to voice, data, and video services over
digital lines on a switched, end-to-end basis.  With open platform service
widely available, individuals and organizations would have access to a
variety of important applications, including  telemedicine, telecommuting, 
and distance learning.  Open Platform services enable any user on the
network to reach any other user or information source on the network,
without having to pass through any bottlenecks that might be erected by
vertically integrated network operators.  Today, many carriers are only
building capacity for primarily one-way services such as video-on-demand,
home shopping, and 500 channels of entertainment.  Open platform
architecture is a strong safeguard against anti-competitive behavior and
will promote the First Amendment goal of access to a diversity of
information sources.
EFF has been working closely with Rep. Markey and other members of
the House Telecommunications Subcommittee to ensure that the open platform
philosophy was incorporated in NII legislation.

Open platform service, as defined in section 101 (3)(ii) of H.R.
3636, refers to -- 

        ...a switched, end-to-end digital telecommunications service that 
        is subject to Title II of [the Communications Act of 1934: Common 
        Carriers]; and that (1) provides subscribers with sufficient 
        network capability to access multimedia information services, 
        (2) is widely available throughout a State, (3) is provided 
        based on industry standards, and (4) is available to all 
        subscribers on a single line basis upon reasonable  request.

Section 102 (d)(3) of H.R. 3636 directs the FCC to conduct an inquiry in
order to determine what regulations and policies are necessary to make open
platform service available to subscribers at reasonable rates.  Based on
the inquiry, the FCC is then directed to prescribe regulations to ensure
the deployment of open platform services.  The FCC may also require
carriers to file tariffs for open platform service as soon as such service
is economically feasible and technologically reasonable.  
The FCC is also directed to establish procedures for granting carriers a
temporary waiver from complying with the open platform requirements. 
Carriers would be granted a waiver if they could demonstrate that
compliance with the open platform requirements would (1) be economically or
technically infeasible, or (2) would materially delay the deployment of new
facilities with improved capabilities or efficiencies that will be used to
meet the requirements of open platform services.

Access to open platform service at affordable rates is also a key
part of the definition of universal service in H.R. 3636.


Universal access to telephone service has long been a cornerstone
of Federal and State telecommunications regulatory policies.  Because
residential local telephone service is provided by a monopoly carrier,
maintaining universal service has not been difficult.  As the ability to
participate in society becomes increasingly more dependent on access to
information, the need to preserve and maintain universal service becomes
more and more important.  However, as competition in the local exchange
increases the diversity of communications services providers, the old
systems for maintaining universal service will become more and more
ineffective.  H.R. 3636 seeks to establish a mechanism that ensures
universal service is preserved as competition increases in the
telecommunications market.
H.R. 3636 does not attempt to establish a statutory definition of
universal service.  Instead, the bill establishes a process which allows
the definition of universal service to evolve as new technologies and
services emerge.

Federal-State Joint Board to Determine the Definition of Universal Service  

The bill establishes a Federal-State Joint board (composed of
representatives from the FCC and State public utility commissions) to
determine what policies and regulations are necessary to preserve and
enhance universal service.  In determining the nature and extent of
universal service, the Federal-State board is directed to consider several
factors.  These include the extent to which:
(1) a telecommunications service has, through the operation of market
choices by customers, been subscribed to by a substantial majority
of residential customers; (2) the possibility that denial of access to such
service to any individual would unfairly deny that individual educational
and economic opportunities; (3) such service has been deployed in the
public switched telecommunications network; and (4) inclusion of such
service within a carriers' universal service obligations is otherwise
consistent with the public interest, convenience, and necessity.      
The bill states that all providers of telecommunications services
should contribute to the preservation of universal service.


        In order to promote competition in the local telecommunications
market, H.R. 3636 requires local exchange carriers to provide equal access
and interconnection to their networks.  The equal access and
interconnection requirements will allow competitors, such as cable
companies, long distance providers, and others, to compete with local
telephone monopolies without requiring competitors to build their  local
network from scratch.  

Regulations Required

The bill directs the FCC to establish regulations that require
reasonable and nondiscriminatory equal access and interconnection with the
facilities of a local exchange carrier's network.  Such regulations must
allow a competitor to place any equipment necessary for interconnection to
the network on the premises of a local exchange carrier.  The FCC is also
directed to prescribe regulations requiring reasonable compensation to the
exchange carrier providing equal access and interconnection.

State Preemptions 

H.R. 3636 preempts existing State and local regulations prohibiting
competition in the local exchange, while maintaining a State's ability to
enforce consumer protection laws, protect public safety and welfare, and
regulate interstate rates and quality of service.

Finally, small and rural telephone companies (those with fewer than
500,000 access lines) are not required to comply with the equal access and
interconnection requirements unless the FCC determines that complying would
not be unduly economically burdensome, unfairly competitive,
technologically infeasible, or otherwise not in the public interest.


H.R. 3636 removes restrictions preventing telephone companies from
providing video services within their service area.  In order to provide
video services within its service area, a telephone company would be
required to: (1) establish a separate video programming affiliate; and (2)
establish a video platform.

Separate Video Programming Affiliate:

H.R. 3636 requires separate video programming affiliates to
maintain separate books and records from their affiliated telephone
company, and conduct its own separate promotion (with certain exceptions). 
The bill also contains prohibitions against cross subsidies.  The separate
affiliate requirements are intended to prevent a telephone from using its
power as a monopoly from impeding competition in the market.

Video Platform

H.R. 3636 requires any common carrier that provides video
programming to its subscribers in its telephone service area to establish a
video platform.  Any carrier establishing a video platform is required to
grant, on a nondiscriminatory basis, access to all bona fide requests for
carriage.  The FCC is also directed to prescribe regulations to prohibit
video platform providers from imposing discriminatory rates, terms, and
conditions on access to the video platform.

In order to promote competition in the delivery of video services,
H.R. 3636 also prohibits (with exceptions for small and rural areas) any
common carrier that provides telephone exchange service (or its affiliates)
from purchasing an existing cable system located within its telephone
service area.

Extension of Regulations to Other High Capacity Systems

This section extends the video platform requirements of H.R. 3636
to cable systems that operate switched broadband delivery systems.   Such
systems are required to establish a video platform, and are prohibited from
 discriminating among program providers with respect to carriage, and
requires that the rates and conditions for carriage of video programming
are just and reasonable

The FCC is also directed to study whether it is in the public
interest to extend the video platform requirements to other cable operators
though they may not have switched broadband video delivery systems.

                (SET-TOP BOXES)

The bill states that set-top boxes and other interactive communications
devices may be "a critical gateway" to American homes and businesses.  The
bill states that,  "In order to promote diversity, competition, and
technological innovation among suppliers of equipment and services, it may
be necessary to make certain critical interfaces open and accessible to a
broad range of information providers",  the FCC is directed to identify
"critical interfaces" that allow end users to connect information devices
to networks and information service providers to transmit information to
end users.  

The bill directs the FCC to conduct an inquiry, to examine the
convergence of interactive technologies.   The FCC would examine the costs
and benefits of establishing open interfaces between, on the one hand, the
network provider and the set-top box, and on the other, between network
providers and information service providers.  The FCC would also determine
how to ensure the interoperability of converter boxes with interactive

The bill instructs this FCC to report to Congress within one year
of the date of enactment of this section on the results of its inquiry. 
Finally, the FCC is instructed to make such changes in its regulations as
deemed necessary in order to implement the findings of its inquiry.


If the FCC decides to issue additional licenses for advanced television
services (such as HDTV) H.R. 3636 allows the FCC to prescribe regulations
that would permit broadcasters to use spectrum for "ancillary and or
supplementary services".   Such ancillary or supplementary services
will be treated as broadcast services and are subject to all regulations
applicable to broadcast services


H.R. 3636 requires the FCC to prescribe regulations to provide access for
the public on video platforms and cable systems at preferential rates.  The
FCC is directed to determine the appropriate capacity consistent with the
video platform requirements of the bill.  


The bill directs the FCC in consultation with the NTIA, to conduct a study
of policies that will enhance civic participation on the Internet.  In
conducting this study, the FCC and NTIA are directed to request public
comment on whether common carriers should be required to provide citizens
with a flat rate service for gaining access to the Internet.

For More information on EFF's Open Platform Proposal, contact
Jerry Berman, Executive Director, 
Danny Weitzner, Deputy Policy Director 
Jonah Seiger, Project Coordinator, 

For the most up-to date version of the bills and the reports, call the
Telecommunications Subcommittee at +1 202 226 2424


Subject: House Intelligence Committee Just Says No to Crypto Export

June 15, the House Intelligence Committee deleted the provisions of the
Export Administration bill (HR3937, formerly HR3627) which would have allowed
the export of all mass-market encryption products and thus eliminated the
ITAR restrictions on most cryptographic material.

The Intelligence Committee substituted the cryptography study previously
adopted by the Senate.  So, instead of getting strong encryption in the
international information infrastructure, we'll get a nice big study to
read and debate.

The next phrase of this fight will be in the House Rules committee, which
will have the job of resolving the dispute between the Foreign Affairs
Committee, which approved the Cantwell bill, and the Intelligence Committee
version, which removed it.  The Rules Committee will decide which version,
if any, goes to the floor of the House for vote.

Stay tuned for further news and action alerts...

The members of the House Rules Committee are listed below.  You may wish
to send them letters and faxes supporting retention of the language
supporting the export of cryptographic products, in the version of the
bill passed by the House Foreign Affairs Cmte.

p st name                           phone            fax            position
D MA Moakley, John Joseph           1-202-225-8273   1-202-225-7304 Cmte Chair
D SC Derrick, Butler                1-202-225-5301   na
R NY Solomon, Gerald B.H.           1-202-225-5614   1-202-225-1168
D CA Beilenson, Anthony             1-202-225-5911   na
D TX Frost, Martin                  1-202-225-3605   1-202-225-4951
R TN Quillen, James H.              1-202-225-6356   1-202-225-7812
D OH Hall, Tony P.                  1-202-225-6465   na
R CA Dreier, David                  1-202-225-2305   1-202-225-4745
R FL Goss, Porter J.                1-202-225-2536   1-202-225-6820
D MO Wheat, Alan                    1-202-225-4535   1-202-225-5990
R TN Gordon, Bart                   1-202-225-4231   1-202-225-6887
D NY Slaughter, Louise M.           1-202-225-3615   1-202-225-7822


Subject: Oregon PUC Request for Comments on ISDN Deployment

EFF will be filing comments in this inquiry and we encourage all
interested parties, especially those in Oregon, to do so as well.

Oregon Public Utility Commission
May 26, 1994

The Public Utility Commission of Oregon has been sponsoring a series of
workshops concerning the deployment of an Integrated Services Digital
Network (ISDN) in Oregon. Through the workshop process, the Oregon ISDN
working group has established the feasibility of ISDN deployment by local
exchange carriers (LECs) within the state. The Commission now seeks
comments on ISDN deployment from the work group and any other interested
parties on the following issues and questions. If parties have comments on
any issues or concerns not covered in the questions, they are encouraged to
add them to the issues list.

Issues and Ouestions:

1.      Does the Commission have jurisdiction to compel the provision of
ISDN? Explain the basis of your position.

2.      What policies should the Commission adopt regarding the deployment
of ISDN? Should the Commission mandate deployment or encourage deployment
to be driven by customer demand?

3.      Should ISDN-based services be considered a replacement for, or an
evolution of, current services?

4.      Should all Oregon subscribers have access to ISDN? What policies
should be adopted concerning the general availability of ISDN to customers?

5.      Assuming that all central office switches in Oregon are either
digital or analog electronic, what network upgrades are necessary to deploy

6. What is the cost of these upgrades? Are these upgrades necessary
exclusively for ISDN, or will they be shared by other services? Explain.

7.      What digital switches are currently incapable of providing ISDN?
Are there plans for making them ISDN-capable? In what time frame?

8.      Are there methods of providing ISDN from ISDN-incapable switches?
Explain in detail.

9.      If overlay methods are used to provide ISDN in certain exchanges,
how will this affect the current structure of local, EAS, and toll services
within Oregon?

10.     What policies regarding ISDN standards should be adopted by the
Commission? Please explain.

11.     Should the Commission require that certain services or capabilities
be provided by ISDN? What are they? Why?

12.     What is the appropriate time frame for ISDN deployment in Oregon? Why?

13.     How should ISDN services be priced? Should there be a
residential/business price differential? Why?

14.     Should there be a voice/circuit data price differential? Why?

15.     Should there be flat rate/measured rate pricing options? Why?

16.     How should features be priced? Should they be provided in packages,
unbundled, or both? Why?

17.     How should the policies regarding ISDN be implemented by the
Commission? If tariff filings are required, what should they contain? Why?

18.     To which local exchange carriers should rules and policies on ISDN
apply? Why?

19.     Should the LECs be required to provide ISDN services in a manner
that is conducive to the competitive provision of ISDN? Why? If so, how?

20.     Should there be a mandated interconnection and interoperability of
competitively provided ISDN services? Why? If so, how and by whom?

21.     Are there any other aspects or characteristics of providing ISDN
that should be considered by the Commission? If yes, describe each and
explain why.

Please mail one copy of your comments by July 22, 1994, to:

     Woody Birko
     Oregon PUC
     550 Capitol St. NE
     Salem, OR 97310-1380

and one copy of your comments to everyone on the attached ISDN work group
mailing list. If you are not on the ISDN work group mailing list and would
like to receive a copy of everyone's comments, please call Woody Birko at
(503) 378-6122.

Reply comments should be mailed in a similar manner by August 30, 1994. The
next meeting of the Oregon ISDN work group is tentatively scheduled for
September 14, 1994, to discuss the comments and reply comments and to see
if a unified position paper can be written to the Commission on ISDN
deployment in Oregon.

If you have any questions concerning this, please call me at (503) 378-6122.

Wolodymyr Birko
Sr. Utility Engineering Analyst
Telecommunications Division
(503) 378-6122


Subject: Republican Party Texas Denouces Clipper, DigTel, and ITAR Regs

Partly in response to a widespread petition effort, conducted primarily
over the Internet, the Texas Republican Party has adopted a platform
supportive of electronic privacy, denoucing in one breath the ITAR crypto
export restrictions, the FBI's draft wiretapping bill, the Adminstration's
Escrowed Encryption Standard, and overly-broad cryptographic algorithm

This is comes as something of a surprise given the unanimous House
Intelligence Committee Vote to retain export restrictions on cryptographic
products - a vote which included the ballot of Rep. Larry Combest (R/TX).
[see previous article in this issue] 

The relevant section of the RPT 1994 Platform is reproduced here:

"Electronic Privacy-The Party believes that no governmental trapdoor
encryption standards should be advanced for use in any civilian
communication system (eg Clipper Chip, Digital Telephony Act) and that the
US patent office should limit the RSA patent to allow individuals to secure
their own communications systems. We believe that encryption systems
publicly available outside the US should not be classified as munitions."

More info will follow when available.


Subject: PSI and Canter & Siegel Negotiate Net Access: No Spamming

Date: Thu, 23 Jun 1994 18:19:47 -0400
From: "Martin Lee Schoffstall" 

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signed articles individually, please contact the authors for their express

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