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Arizona Study Promotes "Universal Access" to Information Superhighway
Arizona Governor's Press Release NR 96:11, February 13, 1996

Governor Fife Symington today released a survey of state laws, policies and initiatives designed to promote universal access to telecommunications services. The study, performed by the International Research Center of Tempe, Arizona, describes the history of Universal Service laws and regulations. It then tracks state and federal efforts to anticipate changes in Universal Service brought about by increasing deregulation and competition in the telecommunications industry. Finally, the study describes changes in the information technology sector, including the rapid rise of advanced services and infrastructure.

"This study may be the most comprehensive yet done on what steps individual states are taking to ensure that all citizens will have equitable access to the information superhighway," said Governor Symington. "This report will serve as a reference book for policymakers on what is being done today, and give us the tools we need to adapt to these revolutionary changes."

Study authors Mark Goldstein and Dr. Richard Gooding surveyed all fifty states on their Universal Service law, regulations and policies, including their use of federal funds. They also conducted extensive original research and interviews and accessed information through the Internet.

"The Arizona Corporation Commission has joined 16 other states in developing rules for Universal Service in the new competitive market," said John B. Kelly, the Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Telecommunications Policy. "However, given the rapid changes in the industry, and the passage of the new federal Telecommunications Act, a more comprehensive, and market-based approach to ensuring universal access will soon be needed."

In addition to the Universal Service information, the study appendices include valuable bibliographical information, a listing of telecommunications policy resources, a listing of information resources on the Internet, Universal Service position papers from providers, trade associations, government agencies and public interest organizations, and state-by-state telecommunications profiles.

This study of Universal Service was mandated by legislative action (Laws 1995, Chapter 246) and cost $24,800. Copies of the report are available from John B. Kelly, Executive Director, Governor's Office of Telecommunications Policy at 542-0142 or at