BACKGROUND - The Department of Justice (DOJ) today recommended that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approve Verizon's application for permission to offer long-distance service in Maine. The 1996 Telecommunications Act requires the FCC to consider DOJ's evaluation before it makes a final decision on the company's request. Verizon filed the Maine application with the FCC March 21. The FCC must rule on the application by June 19. The following response should be attributed to Sarah Deutsch, vice president and associate general counsel for Verizon.
"The Department of Justice's thorough evaluation and recommendation in favor of our application to offer long-distance service in Maine confirms that the local telecommunications market in Maine is fully and irreversibly open. The positive evaluation will help move our application through the process at the FCC.
"This recommendation comes on the heels of FCC approval last week for Verizon to offer long distance in the neighboring state of Vermont and moves us closer to bringing the benefits of competition to all New England residents. We are confident that the FCC will also grant approval of our long-distance application for Maine."