THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, COMPLAINANT V. GENERAL TELEPHONE CO. OF THE NORTHWEST, GENERAL TELEPHONE CO. OF CALIFORNIA, GENERAL TELEPHONE CO. OF WISCONSIN, GENERAL TELEPHONE CO. OF FLORIDA, WEST COAST TELEPHONE CO. OF CALIFORNIA, ST. JOSEPH TELEPHONE & TELEGRAPH CO., UNITED TELEPHONE CO. OF THE NORTHWEST,
NEVADA TELEPHONE-TELEGRAPH CO., DEFENDANTS
Docket No. 18536
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
28 F.C.C.2d 713
RELEASE-NUMBER: FCC 71-362
April 14, 1971 Released
Adopted April 8, 1971
BY THE COMMISSION; CHAIRMAN BURCH ABSENT; COMMISSIONER JOHNSON DISSENTING AND ISSUING A STATEMENT; COMMISSIONER HOUSER CONCURRING AND ISSUING A STATEMENT
[*713] 1. Under consideration is a joint motion filed January 6, 1971, by United Telephone Company of the Northwest and the Department of Defense, in which movants request that the complaint in the above-captioned action be dismissed and the proceeding terminated to the extent that it relates to United Telephone.
2. During certain periods United Telephone had furnished to the Department of Defense dial restoration panel equipment a Burns AFS, Oregon, and at Mt. Hebo, Oregon, as a part of a nationwide communications network known as the AUTOVON Network. The Company billed and collected for such equipment under its general exchange tariff filed with the Oregon Public Utility Commissioner; i.e., United Telephone of the Northwest, P.U.C. Or. No. 1. In a complaint filed by the Department of Defense, it was alleged that the Company was in violation of Section 203(c) of the Communications Act of 1934 by charging, collecting and receiving compensation for such service different from that set forth in American Telephone and Telegraph Company Tariff FCC No. 260 on file with the Federal Communications Commission. Movants now assert that an agreement has been reached resolving their differences. The Company has agreed to take the necessary steps to eliminate from its Oregon tariff all rates, charges and regulations regarding or pertaining to dial restoration panel equipment that has or may be furnished as part of the AUTOVON Network, and to concur in the rates, charges and regulations related to furnishing such equipment set forth in the tariff filed with this Commission. The Department of Defense states that such steps will satisfy the issues raised in the complaint with regard [*714] to United Telephone, and it has agreed to the dismissal of the complaint to the extent that it involves such Company.
3. Also under consideration is a joint motion filed January 6, 1971, by the Nevada Telephone and Telegraph Company and the Department of Defense in which it is requested that the complaint herein be dismissed insofar as it relates to Nevada Telephone.
4. It appears that Nevada Telephone also furnished dial restoration panel equipment as part of the AUTOVON Network, and it billed and collected for such service under its tariff on file with the Nevada Public Service Commission (Nevada Telephone-Telegraph Company, P.S.C.N. Tariff No. 31) rather than under the tariff filed with this Commission (American Telephone and Telegraph Company Tariff FCC No. 260). A Section 203(c) violation against Nevada Telephone was charged in a complaint filed by the Department of Defense, and the parties have now resolved their differences by an agreement along the lines specified above with respect to United Telephone. In view of the steps taken by Nevada Telephone and the fact that the Department is no longer purchasing dial restoration panel equipment or service from that Company, the Department asserts that its complaint against Nevada Telephone is satisfied.
5. No objection has been filed to either motion. We conclude that favorable action on the relief requested by the parties is warranted and will serve the public interest.
6. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED That the joint motion to dismiss filed January 6, 1971, by the United Telephone Company of the Northwest and the Department of Defense and the Joint Motion filed January 6, 1971, by the Nevada Telephone and Telegraph Company and the Department of Defense ARE GRANTED and that the above complaint IS DISMISSED and the proceeding IS TERMINATED to the extent that it relates to the United Telephone Company of the Northwest and to the Nevada Telephone and Telegraph Company.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, BEN F. WAPLE, Secretary.
CONCURRING STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER THOMAS J. HOUSER
Inasmuch as I have concluded that the dismissal of the complaint contemplated by the majority's action here would have no readily definable adverse consequences, I have joined in such action. However, [*715] I would like to take this opportunity to lend my support to the sentiments expressed in Commissioner Johnson's dissent. I would suggest that in reaching determinations of this nature, it would be of immeasurable benefit to the Commission to receive some formal staff input as to the public interest ramifications of our decisions. I would hope that in the future the appropriate Commission bureau would take an active interest in such matters and provide the Coimmission with their insight and comment.
DISSENTING OPINION OF COMMISSIONER NICHOLAS JOHNSON
There is no extrinsic evidence to indicate any untoward aspects of this settlement.
My dissent relates to procedure. I believe the FCC's obligations to make "public interest" findings go beyond routine acceptance of any settlements satisfactory to the parties -- in this case the Department of Defense and a number of telephone companies.
How will the settlement affect the small telephone user? The staff gives us not one word of comment.