Justice Department Cites Strong Local Competition In Pennsylvania

BACKGROUND -- The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today released its evaluation of Verizon's application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide long-distance service in Pennsylvania, concluding that it will be up to the FCC to decide whether to grant the application. The statutory deadline for the FCC's decision is Sept. 19. The following statement may be attributed to John Thorne, Verizon senior vice president and deputy general counsel.

WASHINGTON - ''We are pleased the Justice Department recognizes that with more than one million local lines already controlled by competitors, there is strong evidence of broad-based competition in Pennsylvania.

''Today's DOJ evaluation, combined with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's report supporting our long-distance bid, means that our application is on track for FCC approval.

''Verizon Pennsylvania customers deserve to have the benefits of full competition - competition that develops even further where we are allowed to offer long distance. In New York, where Verizon has provided long-distance service since January 2000, customers are saving $700 million annually on their local and long-distance bills, according to the Telecommunications Research and Action Center.

''We look forward to the FCC's timely approval of our application so Verizon can begin offering Pennsylvanians another choice for their long-distance service later this year.''