Bell Atlantic Responds to MCI WorldCom's Attempt to Further Stall Phone Competition in Pennsylvania

Bell Atlantic Responds to MCI WorldCom's
Attempt to Further Stall Phone Competition
in Pennsylvania

Another Day, Another Delay

September 2, 1999


Harry Mitchell,

Sharon Shaffer,
215-963-6200 or 412-

BACKGROUND -- MCI WorldCom today asked the Pennsylvania Public
Utility Commission (PUC) to allow it to conduct an unnecessary, side-by-
side test of the Bell Atlantic systems that competitors use to switch
customers' local phone service to them. In May, the commission ordered
KPMG to conduct an intense, third-party test of Bell Atlantic's operating
support systems. The firm recently completed a similar test of Bell
Atlantic's systems in New York. In that test, Bell Atlantic passed 99.4
percent of the 855 variables tested. The following response should be
attributed to Daniel J. Whelan, president and CEO, Bell Atlantic -

"It's another day with another delay by MCI WorldCom.

"After getting the deal of the century in last week's Public Utility
Commission decision, MCI WorldCom and AT&T should be announcing
they're starting to offer local phone service in Pennsylvania. Instead, MCI
WorldCom is trying to further delay the day when Pennsylvanians will
have more choice for their local and long-distance service.

"This request is totally unnecessary. Bell Atlantic's operating
support systems in Pennsylvania now are being tested by KPMG in the
most exhaustive scrutiny of a telecommunications company's computer
systems ever undertaken, a test that Bell Atlantic already has passed in
New York. In addition, the PUC's Aug. 26 decision requires a three-
month commercial test of those systems after the KPMG test is completed.
MCI WorldCom wants to pile on additional testing during the KPMG test,
dragging out the process even longer.

"This is yet another brazen example of the long distance giants'
strategy of throwing anything they can cook up to obstruct Bell Atlantic's
path toward providing long-distance service. MCI WorldCom has more
than 160,000 residential customers in New York only because it is facing
real competition as Bell Atlantic is getting closer to providing long-
distance service there.

"The commission should see this for the obvious stalling tactic that
it is, and should reject it outright."