FCC Report Validates Explosive Competition In Pennsylvania's Local Telecom Market

PHILADELPHIA -- A new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report validates the rapid growth of local telecommunications competition in Pennsylvania.

The FCC report, Local Telephone Competition: Status as of Dec. 31, 2000, also found that the greatest competitive activity occurs in states where regional Bell companies have received or are about to receive approval to offer long-distance service.

The FCC report (www.fcc.gov/ccb/stats) calculates total phone lines provided by competitors and incumbent companies. The latest report shows that competitors served 10 percent of the total access lines in Pennsylvania on Dec. 31, 2000 -- a 25-percent jump in six months and 25 percent above the national average.

"The FCC report confirms what we've long said: Pennsylvania's local telecom market is wide-open," said Daniel J. Whelan, president of Verizon Pennsylvania. "Any company that wants to compete in Pennsylvania can and does -- and the numbers prove it."

In the report, only four states have a higher number of competitor lines than Pennsylvania, and each of those states -- California, Florida, New York and Texas -- is substantially larger than Pennsylvania in terms of population and total phone lines in service.

In addition to the FCC report, Whelan pointed to further evidence of rapidly accelerating competition in Pennsylvania:

  • Verizon's latest calculation shows competitors serve one million lines either over their own facilities or facilities leased from Verizon. "That amounts to more than 14 percent of the total access lines served by Verizon Pennsylvania," said Whelan.

  • On average, more than 40,000 residential phone lines are being switched each month from Verizon to competitors. This significant increase in residential competition began in October 2000, as Verizon neared the completion of an 18-month test of the company's computer systems that are used by competitors to switch customers' local phone service from Verizon.

The FCC noted that the states in which regional Bell companies had gained long-distance approval at the time of the study -- New York and Texas -- showed the greatest competitive activity. "Again, the FCC data show that only one step will truly bring full telecom competition to Pennsylvania -- Verizon's entry into the long-distance market," said Whelan.

A recent study by the Telecommunications Research and Action Center estimated New Yorkers are saving up to $700 million annually in local and long-distance services -- roughly $4 a month for every phone line in the Empire State -- as a result of full competition. And AT&T is offering its Massachusetts customers 30 minutes of free long distance less than a month after Verizon began competing for long-distance service there.

"Recent reports that AT&T is threatening to take its business elsewhere if the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) supports Verizon's upcoming FCC long-distance application just emphasize the desperate tactics AT&T is employing to delay full competition," said Whelan. "Pennsylvanians should be outraged at this transparent AT&T attempt to coerce the PUC into making a decision that would only help AT&T while hurting Pennsylvanians.

"We're confident the PUC will see through this childish behavior and do the right thing by Pennsylvanians," said Whelan. "It's time for Verizon long distance in Pennsylvania."

According to reports, the PUC could announce whether it supports Verizon's Pennsylvania long-distance application as early as June 6. Verizon expects to file its Pennsylvania long-distance application with the FCC in June and hopes to offer long distance in the state by the end of this year.

The FCC has 90 days to review Verizon's long-distance application after it's filed. The PUC and the U.S. Department of Justice will provided their recommendations to the FCC before it makes its final decision.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 112 million access line equivalents and 27 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.