Bell Atlantic Responds to Massachusetts DTE Decision to Hand Long Distance Companies Unfair Advantage

Bell Atlantic Responds to Massachusetts DTE Decision to Hand Long Distance Companies Unfair Advantage

December 18, 1998


John Hoey,

BACKGROUND -- The Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications
and Energy today approved a request by MCI-Worldcom to implement a dialing
plan for regional toll calls by April 20, 1999. MCI-Worldcom and AT&T
wrongly claimed that federal law required the department to order
implementation of this dialing plan, called "intraLATA presubscription," by
Feb. 8, 1999. The following may be attributed to Robert Mudge, vice president
of Bell Atlantic - Massachusetts:

"We're very disappointed. The DTE should have maintained its previous position
that intraLATA presubscription should be offered only when consumers can also
have the choice of selecting Bell Atlantic for their long distance service.
Massachusetts consumers will truly benefit from the Telecommunications Act of
1996 only when all companies can offer all services at the same time.

"Today's action rewards the long distance cartel, an industry that has shown an
ongoing pattern of callous disregard for customers. Just yesterday the Federal
Communications Commission took severe action to stem the flood of slamming
complaints from customers victimized by long distance predators. Other
examples of their high jinks include hidden charges, deceptive pricing and
refusal to pass on billions of dollars in access charge reductions to real

"Such actions reinforce the need for Bell Atlantic to be able to compete head-to-
head with these long distance companies.

"In this proceeding Bell Atlantic proposed a specific schedule that would have
ended the stalling tactics of long distance companies who would rather continue
to force everyone to talk rather than act on the issues we need to resolve to make
successful long distance filings with the DTE and FCC. Unfortunately, our
competitors continue to erect roadblocks and seek delays in our long distance