Bell Atlantic Responds to AT&T/Time Warner Joint Venture
February 1, 1999
BACKGROUND -- AT&T and Time Warner today announced a joint
venture to provide local telephone service over Time Warner's cable
systems in 33 states in competition with Bell Atlantic and other companies.
The following response should be attributed to James G. Cullen, president
and chief operating officer, Bell Atlantic Corp.:
AT&T's alignment with yet another massive cable company proves our
point: The local telephone markets are fully competitive and it's time to
let Bell Atlantic offer customers long distance service now.
Moreover, this announcement demonstrates that technology is outpacing
regulation. As more local service alternatives become available to
customers, all companies should be welcomed to compete in local and
long distance markets. Public policy should spur competition, not stifle it.
But until free market forces can take hold, AT&T's strategy to bypass the
local phone network, serve only the most lucrative customers, and
abandon all obligations to universal service before regulators lift
restrictions is premature and irresponsible. We urge regulators to take a
close look at AT&T's approach and open long distance markets to real