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Fortnightly Magazine - October 15 1996

to a competitive network, regulators must not be cowed by veiled threats aimed at revealing costs of subsidized services. Rather, they should take the initiative to educate the public and policymakers to the necessities of programs like universal service, which give so much back to the state's communities.

The commissioners will review and make changes to the proposal, and may have completed their work as you read this column. Hopefully, their review will have better reflected the true costs of guaranteeing access to new telecommunications services. If that day comes, Californians can take pride that their universal service program exemplifies a competitive system that doesn't just involve the economies of large customers and telecommunications giants, but also the real economies of our local communities. t

Stan Hulett is chair of Californians for Advanced and Affordable Communications (CAAT), which appeared in the CPUC's universal service docket on behalf of small businesses and rural communities. A former commissioner at the CPUC (1986-90; president 1987-88), Hulett is also vice president of New Energy Ventures, Inc., an aggregator and buyer's agent, which recently closed a deal to purchase 400 megawatts from the Bonneville Power Administration.


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