Continuing coverage of recent WT stories

FCC Rules Buoy Telcos
The Federal Communications Commission last week unanimously passed rules that lift barriers to local phone competition. The rules implement the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (WT, Feb. 8).

The rules give power to individual states to develop rate schedules and other requirements. Telcos can jump into the local market in three ways: by building their own facilities; buying network elements from a current local exchange carrier; or reselling the carrier's retail services.
Most telcos said they were encouraged by the FCC's rules, although much work needs to be done before it's clear how they will affect the industry.
"We welcome this first step to create an opportunity for other companies to compete with the [regional Bell operating companies] and the local phone companies," said Linda Oliver, counsel for the Telecommunications Carriers for Competition, a coalition of major telcos including AT&T, MCI and LCI International.

BDM Posts Record-Setting Quarter
Bill Hoover's move from PRC Inc. in McLean, Va., to BDM International Inc. in McLean, made for a record-setting second quarter for the company (WT, June 13).
BDM's net income increased 72 percent to an all-time second quarter high of $6.7 million, up from $3.9 million in the second quarter of 1995. Revenues for the quarter, which ended June 30, totaled $251.9 million, up 18 percent from the $213.1 million in 1995. Earnings per share for the quarter increased 18 percent to $0.45 from $0.38 in 1995.

Maryland Discusses Internet Taxation
Maryland's Senate taxation committee plans to discuss possible taxation of the Internet next year, according to state officials. Any effort to tax on-line commerce or Internet access charges will generate opposition from infotech executives who say the taxes will hurt the still-growing on-line business. But Maryland's move matches the federal government and other states such as California and Florida, who are eyeing the potential revenues that may be gained from taxing the infotech industry (WT, July 11).

New Watchdog on the Block
The battle over the next generation of digital television technology has spawned yet another Washington lobbying group, Americans for Better Digital TV. The group, backed by Microsoft's Bill Gates and officials from Compaq Computer Corp., Apple Computer Inc. and Intel Corp., is trying to win government backing for its digital TV technology proposal.

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