Bell Atlantic: Time for Consumers to Reap Benefits of the
Anniversary Marks Growing Competition in the Local Market
While the Long Distance Market is Shut Tight
February 8, 1999
NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic President and Chief Operating Officer Jim
Cullen today called for an end to three years of regulatory delay that has
kept Bell Atlantic out of the long distance telephone market.
"The competitive landscape in New York and everywhere else is
changing at warp speed. Technology and the realities of the market are
outpacing regulation," Cullen said. "The Telecommunications Act is
only three years old, but the rules for regulating the industry are
outmoded. Public policy should encourage competition, not stifle it."
Cullen's message was part of the United States Telephone Association's
(USTA) news conference, "Resolve to Solve: Don't Hang-Up on
Speaking from the heart of New York City, Times Square, Cullen says
New Yorkers can find just about anything they want at any time of the
day from a Rueben sandwich at 3 a.m. to a leather jacket to electronic
equipment. But, Cullen points out that the one thing New Yorkers can't
do is walk over to the pay phone and place a call using Bell Atlantic long
distance service. The same applies to those who live and work in the
apartments and businesses nearby.
"The bottom line is that most consumers are still held captive by the Big
Three long distance companies. Consumers want one stop shopping and
choice from companies that they trust, like Bell Atlantic," Cullen said.
Cullen said that Bell Atlantic must be allowed to offer long distance
service to make the market competitive and bring consumers the benefits
the act envisioned. Cullen added that consumers are tired of the
deceptive tactics used by the Big Three long distance companies that
range from employing confusing marketing plans to slamming to using
phony front groups to make the case against local phone companies'
entry into the long distance market.
"Three years after the Telecommunications Act, Bell Atlantic has met
the requirements in the act. Our markets are irreversibly open to
competition," Cullen said.
Bell Atlantic has dedicated 1,000 employees and is spending more than
$1 billion to open its local markets to competitors. Bell Atlantic has
built systems that make it easier for competitors to compete and those
systems have the ability to handle several thousand orders a day from
Bell Atlantic filed its long distance application in New York with the
New York Public Service Commission (PSC) in November 1997. In
April 1998, Bell Atlantic received conditional approval for its long
distance application from then-NY PSC Chairman John O'Mara, as well
as from U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Chief Joel Klein. Bell
Atlantic is the only company to have received support for its entry into
long distance from the U.S. Department of Justice. Bell Atlantic's
application also has won the support of the Consumer Federation of
America. Bell Atlantic plans to file with the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) to offer long distance in New York soon.
"Consumers will benefit when the FCC approves our application in New
York," Cullen said. "I urge you to join me and send a wake up call to
Washington from the city that never sleeps."
Video of Cullen's full remarks will be available Monday, February 8
from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at C Band: Galaxy 6/Transponder 9/Audio
6.2 and 6.8.
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With more than 42 million telephone access lines and 8.6
million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory
information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest
investors in high-growth global communicat