Universal Service: A Stakeholder Response
Although the speakers at the New York Law School Conference have certainly had differing opinions on how universal service goals should be viewed going forward, there seems to be a great deal of understanding and agreement on how universal service has evolved to the current situation. At Ameritech, we see the very real prospect of imminent competition in nearly all of our markets. Unfortunately, as things stand currently, we also see the very distinct and dangerous possibility that as this competition develops, we continue to bear the burdens of sustaining current universal service policies in the territories we serve. However, current policies are not sustainable-the burden is one that Ameritech cannot continue to bear alone as it faces competition throughout the business. With time running out on current universal service policies, Ameritech is actively developing solutions that are sustainable, workable, fair to customers, and, perhaps most important, politically doable in this future environment. Therefore, reflecting on some of the issues discussed earlier, I describe Ameritech's view on what needs to be done to preserve the essential components of universal service in the fully competitive environment that is on us.