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			  Before the 
	       Federal Communications Commission
		      Washington, D.C. 20554


In re Applications of                )
Globe Wireless, Inc.                 )
File Nos. 878286, 878287             )
for Public Coast Stations KPH and WCC)



		   MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

     Adopted:  May 6, 1997                        Released:  May 12, 1997

By the Acting Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau:


	       I.  INTRODUCTION & EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


     1.  On April 9, 1996, Globe Wireless, Inc. (Globe) filed applications
seeking Commission approval for transfer of the licenses for Stations KPH 
and WCC, Bolinas, California, and South Chatham, Massachusetts, 
respectively, in the Maritime Radio Services, from their current licensee, 
Western Union International, Inc. (Western Union), to Globe.  On May 17, 
1996, the public was given notice that these applications were filed.  On 
June 4, 1996, Teamsters Local Union No. 9 (Teamsters) filed a Petition to 
Deny assignment of the subject licenses essentially alleging that transfer 
of these licenses to Globe would impair competition in the maritime 
communications industry.  In response, Globe and Western Union filed 
Oppositions on July 22, 1996.  A Reply to Opposition to Petition to Deny 
(Teamsters Reply) was filed by the Teamsters on August 9, 1996.  For the 
reasons discussed below, the Teamsters' Petition to Deny is denied. 

We will grant the applications filed by Globe, and permit transfer of the
licenses of Marine Coastal Stations KPH and WCC from Western Union to 
Globe.


			 II.  BACKGROUND

     2.  Public coast stations have been in existence for approximately 100
years.  Currently, high seas public coast stations are governed by Subpart 
J of Part 80 of the Commission's Rules.  These stations provide a variety 
of voice and data telecommunications services, consisting of 
radiotelephone, radiotelegraph, narrow-band direct-printing, and facsimile, 
and are capable of serving vessels thousands of miles away.  High seas 
public coast station frequencies are allocated internationally and 
distributed among eleven frequency bands.  These frequencies are assigned 
for exclusive use based on the type of radio communication services the 
station intends to provide.  Under current rules, a high seas public coast 
station may initially be assigned one channel in each of the applicable 
frequency bands.  Stations KPH and WCC currently are licensed as high seas 
public coast stations to Western Union and are authorized to use a total of 
forty-six (46) and forty-five (45) frequencies, respectively, in the eleven 
frequency bands allocated for use by public coast stations serving vessels 
on the high seas.  Station KPH is manned; Station WCC is operated remotely 
from the KPH location.  Together, they employ either 24 or 25 individuals 
(the figure is in dispute).  The two stations jointly serve 400 customers, 
and provide radiotelegraph services to vessels and monitor a distress 
frequency on 500 kHz.  Globe seeks transfer of these licenses from Western 
Union to itself.  Presently, Globe is the licensee of Stations KFS, WNU, 
and KEJ at Palo Alto, California, Pearl River, Louisiana, and Kahalelani, 
Hawaii, respectively.      

     3.  Petition to Deny.  The Teamsters, representing employees of 
Stations KPH and WCC, oppose transfer of these stations from Western Union 
to Globe, contending that closure of the facilities will result from such a 
transfer.  They allege that this, in turn, will force the maritime 
community to use the allegedly unreliable Global Maritime Distress Safety 
System (GMDSS).  The Teamsters argue that because there are no adequate 
substitute facilities of equal capabilities, closure of the facilities will 
seriously inconvenience the public.  The Teamsters further argue that this 
would contravene Section 214(a) of the Communications Act of 1934, as 
amended (Communications Act), because the present and future public 
convenience and necessity will be adversely affected by the discontinuance 
of the subject stations' operations.  

     4.  The Teamsters state that only four of the seven international 
public coast marine (IPCM) stations operate 24 hours a day, seven days a 
week.  Those four stations are WLO, Mobile, Alabama (licensed to Global 
Radio Network, Inc.) (GRN); KFS, Palo Alto, California (licensed to Globe); 
and Stations KPH and WCC, both of which Globe seeks to obtain from Western 
Union.  The Teamsters contend that if Stations KPH and WCC are closed, only 
two high seas public coast stations that operate 24 hours per day, seven 
days a week (KFS of Globe and WLO of GRN) would remain.  The Teamsters 
further note that Globe is also the licensee of one of the other three IPCM 
stations that would remain under this scenario (Station WNU).  The 
Teamsters assert that (1) purchase and/or closure of Stations KPH and WCC 
would give customers a choice between only Globe and GRN for operation at 
any time of day or night, (2) those customers would choose Globe for 
transmitting and receiving messages because it is the dominant carrier, and 
(3) Globe's market power would be further enhanced.  According to the 
Teamsters, grant of the subject applications will enable Globe to capture 
80% or more of the revenues in the market, thus, creating a monopoly.  The 
Teamsters further contend that denial of these applications would continue 
existing competition that encourages and assures better services and faster 
handling of message traffic.  Finally, the Teamsters request that before 
any grant of the subject applications, the Commission establish an 
independent committee pursuant to Sections 309(e) and 403 of the 
Communications Act, to review the communications services provided to the 
maritime industry.  It recommends that such committee be comprised of 
representatives from industry, the Department of Defense, the Department of
Justice, unions and common carriers.  
	

			 III.  DISCUSSION

     5.  After a careful review of the record in this proceeding, we 
conclude that grant of the subject applications is consistent with the 
public interest, convenience and necessity standard established in Section 
309(a) of the Communications Act.  We find that the allegations made in the 
Petition to Deny are not substantiated.    

     6.  Service Discontinuation.  Although the Teamsters assert that the
license transfers will result in loss of services currently received by the
public, Globe, in the context of this proceeding, has stated its intent to
continue to offer all services on the same frequencies and the same hours 
of operation currently available to existing customers of Stations KPH and 
WCC.  The Teamsters, moreover, note that only Stations KPH and WCC have the
facilities within the continental United States to reach all the world's
oceans.  Furthermore, of the approximately 400 customers notified of the
change in ownership, only one, Williams, Dimond & Co., indicated any 
concern.  In addition, assignment of these licenses does not pose any harm 
to the public safety or national security.  Based upon these facts and 
Globe's representations, we conclude that there is insufficient evidence to 
indicate that there will be disruption to current service as a direct 
result of the proposed transfer.

     7.  As to the Teamsters' concerns that the closure of these stations 
will force increased reliance on the GMDSS, which they consider to be 
unreliable, the U.S. Congress demonstrated its belief in the reliability of 
the GMDSS by recently eliminating the requirement that large cargo and 
passenger vessels carry radiotelegraph installations operators when these 
vessels are equipped and operated in accordance with GMDSS provisions.  In 
implementing Section 365 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the 
Commission concluded that the GMDSS is at least, if not more, reliable than 
the outdated radiotelegraph system which is based on manual Morse code 
technology.  In fact, the GMDSS represents the biggest improvement in 
marine safety since the first maritime regulations were enacted following 
the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.  It is an automated ship-to-shore 
distress alerting system that relies on satellite and advanced terrestrial 
systems.  

     8.  Even if Western Union had discontinued service, or if at anytime 
in the future Globe does discontinue service, no prior Commission 
authorization is required.  Under  recently adopted Section 63.19(a) of the 
Commission's Rules, only notification to customers and the Commission 
(sixty days in advance) is required of non-dominant international carriers 
that seek to discontinue, reduce or impair service.  In streamlining the 
international Section 214 authorization process, the Commission stated that 
the increase in the number of international carriers and competition in 
international services means that customers can switch to another 
international carrier if service is discontinued by their current carrier.  
In view of this, the Commission concluded that impairment of service is 
unlikely, and customers will be able to obtain alternative service within 
the sixty days provided by notice.  Moreover, there are channels currently 
available for use by new license applicants in the eleven frequency bands 
which are allocated to high seas public coast stations.  In view of the 
above, we conclude that transfer of the subject stations does not 
contravene Section 214 of the Communications Act or Section 63.19(a) of the 
Commission's Rules.

     9.  The Market.  We believe that competition will not be impaired by 
the transfer of the subject licenses.  The maritime communications market 
is broader than merely public coast stations.  High seas public coast 
stations face direct competition from satellite-based service providers, 
such as INMARSAT, and, to a limited extent, from cellular-based service 
providers.  Indeed, as maritime service customers increasingly have turned 
to satellite and cellular services, there has been a considerable 
contraction in the number of public coast stations over the past twenty-
five years.  Even including the subject stations, Globe estimates that it 
will be serving only five percent of the American marine communications 
market.

     10.  While we concur with the Teamsters that competition encourages
better services, faster handling of message traffic, and spurs 
technological development, the Teamsters take too narrow a view of the 
relevant market.  In fact, the Commission has already held that public 
coast stations do not possess market power.  Further, the Commission 
recently reclassified international public coast stations as non-dominant 
common carriers to promote competition.  As a non-dominant carrier, Globe 
will not have any ability to control prices or engage successfully in any 
other anticompetitive conduct following the assignment of the subject 
licenses.  For that matter, Globe and Western Union, as non-dominant 
international carriers, are under no obligation to seek authorization from 
the Commission to discontinue service.  Petitioner's allegation that the 
transfer is a ruse to circumvent Western Union's obligation, as an 
international carrier, to file a Section 214 application to cease 
operations is unpersuasive because Western Union does not have such an 
obligation. Thus, Petitioner's allegations that the proposed license 
transfers contravene Section 214 of the Communications Act on this basis 
are also without merit.

     11.  Competition.  We concur with Globe that the transfer of the
facilities will better serve the public interest by increasing the
availability of new and innovative services in the public coast station
context.  In addition to traditional services, Globe intends to offer 
"Globe E-Mail," which would permit individuals to communicate with ships, 
and vice-versa, directly via electronic mail.   In its comments, HAL notes 
that the Globe E-mail system forwards typical ship-to-shore traffic faster 
and at a fraction of the cost of satellite communications systems.  We find 
merit in Globe's contention that such technical innovations are crucial for 
the continued survival of public coast stations.  Western Union submits 
that it has upgraded the antennas and equipment at the stations, automated 
many of the systems, and reduced the staff by nearly a half, but these 
measures have not made these stations economically successful.  It appears 
likely that the economic viability of public coast stations is inextricably 
intertwined with successful implementation of additional technical 
improvements, such as Globe's E-Mail feature.  The subject license 
transfers will permit Globe, within the scope of its authorizations under 
the Commission's Rules, to institute an advanced maritime communications 
system and achieve efficiencies previously unavailable to Western Union, 
which will undoubtedly enhance Globe's ability to effectively compete.  
This should further increase overall competition in the maritime 
communications market by enabling Globe's public coast stations to directly 
compete more effectively with satellite and cellular communications 
providers.


			 IV.  CONCLUSION

     12.  Contrary to the Teamsters' contention, we do not find that the 
grant of these applications will result in the concentration of control of 
the maritime communications market.  Rather, we conclude, based on the 
record in this proceeding, that these stations' existing customers will 
continue to receive their current services, as well as new, innovative 
communications services such as Globe E-mail.  We also determine that there 
are no substantial and material questions of fact warranting either 
designation of these applications for hearing or establishment of an 
investigatory committee.  We further conclude that the license transfers 
will comply with the public interest, convenience and necessity standards 
mandated by the Communications Act.

								     
		       V.  ORDERING CLAUSES

     13.  IT IS ORDERED that pursuant to Sections 4(i), 309(d)(2), and 
310(d) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C.  154(i), 
309(d)(2), 310(d), and Sections 1.962 and 1.971 of the Commission's Rules, 
47 C.F.R.  1.962, 1.971, the Petition to Deny filed by Teamsters Local 
Union No. 9 on June 4, 1996, against Globe Wireless, Inc., IS DENIED.

     14.  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the applications of Globe Wireless, 
Inc., for approval to transfer the licenses for Stations KPH and WCC, 
Bolinas, California, and South Chatham, Massachusetts, respectively, in the 
Maritime Radio Services,  from Western Union International, Inc., to Globe 
Wireless, Inc., ARE GRANTED.
     

			 FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

			 
			 Daniel B. Phythyon
			 Acting Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau

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4-25-97