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Bye, bye net95

		As you may have heard, there have been press stories about
private meetings between AT&T representatives and others to arrive at an
acceptable definition of "open access". A letter was delivered to Chairman
Kennard on Monday, December 6th, outlining those discussions.  I was
involved in those discussions at Chairman Kennardís request, and I signed
the letter as LSGAC Chair, because that is how the Chairman asked me to
participate.  I have not represented that the substance of the letter is a
position of the LSGAC..  Some of you might be interested in my perspective
on the background and the process, so I thought I would use the list serve
to provide it.

	In July, Chairman Kennard and Deborah Lathen (Chief of the Cable
Services Bureau) asked me to participate in a small group discussion, the
purpose of which was to attempt to arrive at a definition of "open access".
The theory was with all of the debate over this issue, the parties were
often not talking about the same thing when they referred to open access.
Initially, it was expressed to me that the Chairman hoped a top level
official from AT&T, Mindspring, Excite @Home, The Media Access Project (a
consumer organization), and the LSGAC would participate in the discussion.
When an agreeable definition was arrived at, the CEOís of the various
organizations would publicly endorse the agreement.  Recognizing that as
state and local officials we do not have a CEO that speaks on behalf of all
of us, the Chairman hoped that in addition to myself we would also have a
big city mayor involved in the process so that when all was said and done,
that individual could also be involved
in promoting the agreement.  The Chairman suggested Atlanta Mayor Bill
Campbell, who also serves on the LSGAC. Mayor Campbell participated in the
discussions through Michael Bracy, who is his staff representative to LSGAC.

	The initial group meeting was in August.  In addition to myself,
participants were Jim Cicconi, Vice President and General Counsel of AT&T,
Andy Schwartzman, President and CEO of The Media Access Project, Milo
Medin, Vice President of Technology for Excite@Home, Charles Brewer,
President and CEO of Mindspring, and Mike Bracy.  After that first August
meeting, there have been many hours of conference calls over the past four

	It became obvious very quickly that everyone came into the
discussion with a slightly different perspective on what we were asked to
do.  Some of the confusion arose from the fact that some of the parties had
more direct contact with the Chairman's office, while others (like me) had
more contact with Deborah Lathen.  Most of us recognized that whatever we
came up with would not solve the problem, but would hopefully be viewed in
the broad sense as an important first step in discussions involving open
access.  My view (and that of Andy Schwartzman) was that all parties would
be involved in all stages of the discussion, and that the CEOís of the
various organizations would all participate in the formal announcement to
the public.  The purpose was to come up with an open access definition that
we could recommend to any segment of the industry,  state or local
government, or consumers, without some other party to the discussion
saying,"no, thatís not what open access means".  AT!
&T, Mindspring and Excite@Home had the impression that Excite@Home was
present at the talks through Milo Medin, to provide technical, background
information regarding how open access works, but was not necessarily
intended to be a party to the final agreement.  As a result, his
participation ceased about half way through the process.

	In the discussions, we came up with a framework for open access
which was then modified and revised throughout four months of conference
calls.  In that process, it became apparent that AT&T was willing to
negotiate open access agreements with all ISP's, but only after its
exclusive contracts with Excite@Home and others expired. It is my
understanding that most of these exclusive arrangements will not end for at
least two years.

	Toward the end of the negotiations, Andy Schwartzman decided that
he could not sign the final agreement.  He primarily objected to the fact
that while the language about what open access is was helpful, he was
uncomfortable signing a document where AT&T was essentially acknowledging
that it would not enter into these open access agreements for a couple of
years.  He also believes that the description of open access does not go
far enough.  His letter to the Chairman describing his position can be
found at   Despite Andyís unwillingness to sign, he was an extremely
valuable participant, and a substantial portion of the letter addressing
consumer issues is included as a result of his input.  In addition, as the
discussions progressed, it became apparent that Mayor Campbell would not be
in a position to sign or publicly endorse the agreement, as Atlanta is in
the process of a transfer resulting from the AT&T/Media One acquisition.

	Mike Bracy and I decided that the most valuable role we could play
was as interested observers who listened more than we spoke, while the
other parties hashed out the technical and commercial aspects of open
access, and how that impacted consumers.  We viewed our role as ensuring
that the result of the discussions would not negatively impact the
authority of local or state governments.  For example, at one point in the
discussions, there was a suggestion that the definition should be limited
solely to "commercial" arrangements, and that the cable industry would not
expect to see that definition used in a franchise renewal or transfer.
This was unacceptable, and we expressed the position that we were not
comfortable participating in the discussions if there was some limitation
on how the definition could be used.  In other words, whether we agree or
disagree with the policy of a state or local government requiring open
access, should that government choose to do so, it should be able to
utilize the definition without industry complaining that the definition is
not acceptable.  AT&T can argue whether the government has the legal
authority to impose open access requirements, but after it agrees to a
definition of open access in a commercial setting, it should not argue with
the substance of that definition if a governmental entity chooses to use it.

What follows is the text of the letter that was delivered Monday to
Chairman Kennard.  While the agreement does not get us past the major
hurdle of AT&T's exclusive agreements, I believe that the post-exclusivity
definition of open access is a step in the right direction.

		December 6, 1999

Chairman William E. Kennard
Federal Communications Commission
445 Twelfth Street, SW, Room 8-B201
Washington, DC  20554

Dear Chairman Kennard:

At your suggestion, the undersigned met to discuss an acceptable means of
providing consumers with a choice of Internet Service Providers ("ISPs")
when connecting to the Internet at high speed over cable.  After a series
of extensive discussions, this effort has produced the principles set forth
below.  While there remains disagreement concerning current exclusive
contractual arrangements between AT&T and other companies, AT&T has agreed
to adhere to the following principles once these exclusive contractual
arrangements no longer apply.

AT&T will work toward, and implement, high-speed Internet access over cable
that will provide consumers with:

…	a choice of ISPs;
…	the ability to exercise their choice of ISPs without having to
subscribe to any other ISP;
…	a choice of Internet connections at different speeds, and at prices
reasonable and appropriate to those speeds;
…	direct access to all content available on the World Wide Web
without any AT&T-imposed charge to the consumer for such content;
…	the continued ability to change or customize their "start page" and
other aspects of their Internet experience;
…	the functionality of their ISP comparable to that which such ISP
has on competing high-speed systems, subject to any technical constraints
particular to, or imposed upon, all ISPs using AT&Tís cable system to
deliver high-speed Internet access.

To that end, AT&T is prepared to negotiate private commercial arrangements
with multiple ISPs, to take effect upon the expiration of existing
exclusive contractual arrangements, that would provide the ISP:

…	Internet transport services for high-speed Internet access at
prices reasonably comparable to those offered by AT&T to any other ISP for
similar services, subject to other terms negotiated between the parties on
a commercial basis;
…	the opportunity to market directly to consumers high-speed Internet
access over cable using AT&Tís Internet transport services;
…	the opportunity through means to be mutually agreed upon, to market
their high-speed Internet access which uses AT&Tís Internet transport
services to AT&Tís cable customers who have not already designated an ISP;
…	the opportunity to bill cable subscribers directly for services
provided by the ISP that are additional to the services provided by AT&T;
…	the opportunity to differentiate service offerings by various
means, such as enhanced customer care and advanced applications; and
…	the opportunity to maintain brand recognition in all such offerings.

Any such opportunities will be subject to terms and conditions to be agreed
upon by the parties which will address, as appropriate, but not be limited
to issues such as pricing, billing, customer relationship, design of start
page, degree of customization, speed, system usage, caching services,
co-branding, ancillary services, advertising and e-commerce revenues, and
infrastructure costs.

Please do not hesitate to call any of us if you have any questions.


David N. Baker					        James W. Cicconi
Vice President, Legal & Regulatory Affairs		        General
Counsel & Executive Vice President
Mindspring Enterprises, Inc				        AT&T Corp.

Kenneth S. Fellman, Esq.
Chairman, FCC Local & State Government
Advisory Committee

cc:	Commissioner Ness
Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth
 	Commissioner Powell
	Commissioner Tristani