Abernathy's Bankrupt Firm Eyes Shutdown

Broadband Office Communications Inc. -- the bankrupt former employer of
Federal Communications Commission member Kathleen Abernathy -- is asking the
agency for permission to shut down its telecommunications business in 33 states
and Washington, D.C.

Broadband Office tumbled into Chapter 11 May 9, less than 10 days before
Abernathy, a Republican, was to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee for
her nomination hearing.

The FCC said approval of Broadband Office's request is usually automatic
unless end-users would be stuck without service providers. Parties objecting to
Broadband Office's request have until Aug. 6 to alert the commission.

Abernathy has agreed not to participate in FCC matters involving Broadband
Office for about one year. Because Abernathy had a small financial interest in
Broadband Office, she is barred from agency matters dealing with the company
unless she is granted a waiver while still holding that interest.

Abernathy was director of government affairs at Broadband Office from March
2000 through March 2001.

She was granted 90 days from her May 25 Senate confirmation to divest a
telecommunications-stock portfolio valued between $450,000 and $1 million that
included shares in Qwest Communications International Inc., Verizon
Communications and Vodafone Group plc.On July 12, Abernathy stepped away from
the FCC meeting to honor her pledge not to participate in agency actions
affecting her stock holdings until after she had divested the