Bell Atlantic Expresses Concerns About PSC Decision on Local Competition

Bell Atlantic Expresses Concerns About PSC Decision on
Local Competition

Company Says Customers May Be Deprived of Benefits of True

November 12, 1996

Media contacts:

Ells Edwards 302-576-5340


DOVER, Del. -- The Delaware Public Service Commission
(PSC) today
decided that a key requirement of the new federal telecommunications
law does not apply in Delaware and ordered Bell Atlantic-Delaware to
provide, by July 31, 1997, a method for all telephone customers to
pre-select a phone company to carry their in-state toll calls, just as
they choose a long distance company today.

The federal law says the pre-selection process for regional toll calls
should begin when regional Bell companies can provide long distance
service or by February, 1999, whichever comes first.

A fundamental principle of the act is that consumers will see the
benefits of true competition only when all markets are opened to all
competitors at the same time under the same ground rules. However,
the PSC order adopts the view of telecommunications giants AT&T and
MCI, who oppose the evenhanded competition mandated by the federal
Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Bell Atlantic plans to offer long distance service as soon as possible
after complying with competitive safeguards required by the
legislation. However, there are no guarantees that the company will
be allowed to enter the long distance business by a specific date.

Joshua W. Martin III,
president and CEO of Bell Atlantic-Delaware,
expressed doubt that the PSC decision will promote fair competition in
Delaware. "Bell Atlantic has always supported simultaneous removal
all barriers that impede competition and customer choice," said
Martin. "We are concerned about tilting the regulatory playing
in favor of our competitors. Huge telecommunications conglomerates
such as AT&T and MCI-British Telecom do not need special treatment to
be able to compete with Bell Atlantic-Delaware.

"Delaware residents will be disadvantaged and confused unless Bell
Atlantic is allowed to fully compete with AT&T and MCI in long
distance markets these companies have fought so hard to keep us out
of," Martin said.

Martin said implementing the customer selection process for in-state
toll calls, known as presubscription, before Bell Atlantic can enter
long distance markets will limit meaningful customer choices in long
distance services and remove incentives for long distance companies to
lower rates.

"Bell Atlantic-Delaware already offers the lowest in-state toll
of any Bell operating company in the nation," Martin said.
would not have been disadvantaged by introducing presubscription once
the long distance cartel is exposed to real competition."

Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE:
BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local
telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the
largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication
marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in
Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing
high-growth national and international business opportunities in all
phases of the industry.