FCC: WorldCom Services Wont Go Dark
Meanwhile, the FCC is probing for similar fraud at other carriers.As increasingly bad news flows daily from the nations largest telecommunications carriers, top telecom cop Michael Powell asked Congress today for more authority to prevent telephone and Internet service interruptions. Powell also told lawmakers that the sector will not recover economically without a restructuring among service providers, but he refused to tip his hand on whether he would approve a merger between a distressed long distance carrier, such as WorldCom Inc., and a Regional Bell Operating Company. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Powell appeared before the committee of senators who oversee his agency this morning, where lawmakers sought assurances from him and from executives of WorldCom, Global Crossing Ltd. and Qwest Communications International that the countrys major networks wont go dark. "I am confident that we are not facing a crisis in the provision of service stemming from this [WorldCom] bankruptcy," Powell told senators. The FCC chairman said that he had had discussions with WorldCom creditors, lenders and senior executives, as well as with government agencies, which are major WorldCom customers, and he believes that there is no imminent threat of service disruption.
However, Powell said that he does remain concerned about whether other carriers have committed the kinds of deception WorldCom is charged with. The FCC has opened an initiative to re-examine other carriers data and may require some to recertify their filings. Without naming names, Powell said that most of the telecom carriers under scrutiny today are the ones who were most aggressive in pursuing Internet-related business.