Hastert Promises FCC Reform

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Washington -- It looks as if new House Speaker Dennis
Hastert (R-Ill.) plans to keep a close eye on the Federal Communications Commission and
the pending effort by a House Commerce subcommittee to reform the agency.

In a Feb. 28 speech to a United States Telephone
Association conference in La Quinta, Calif., Hastert said that although he has a busy
national agenda, telecommunications policy and ongoing FCC implementation of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996 would be a priority.

"I am confident that we can restructure the FCC and
help to drag the overly bureaucratic FCC kicking and screaming into the 21st
century," Hastert said, according to a transcript provided by the USTA.

Hastert said his agenda was understandably dominated by
national priorities: Social Security, education, tax relief and national security.
"But," he added, "I am also eager to focus on this area --
telecommunications -- that has long interested me."

Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), chairman of the House
Telecommunications Subcommittee, is planning hearings later in the year on proposals to
overhaul the FCC and its administration of communications laws and policies.