Massachusetts Consumers One Step Closer to Reaping Savings from Full Long-Distance Competition

BACKGROUND: Today, the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy recommended to the Federal Communications Commission that it approve Verizon's application to provide long-distance service in the Commonwealth. The FCC has until Dec. 21 to act on Verizon's application. Massachusetts is the second state in the former Bell Atlantic service area where the company has applied to offer long distance. In December 1999, Verizon (then Bell Atlantic) received approval to offer long-distance service in New York, becoming the first regional Bell operating company to provide one-stop shopping for domestic and international telecommunications services to all of its customers. The following statement should be attributed to Robert Mudge, president - Verizon Massachusetts.

"The Department of Telecommunications and Energy concluded that Verizon has met all federal requirements after a comprehensive, 16-month review that included eight months of independent testing. The department further found that the local phone market in Massachusetts is irreversibly open to competition and that approval of Verizon's application is unquestionably in the public interest.

"Three million Massachusetts consumers and businesses are now one step closer to realizing the benefits of full competition for both local and long-distance phone services.

"The additional local and long distance competition spurred by Verizon's long distance entry in New York will produce more than $200 million in savings for consumers this year. In just seven months, one million New Yorkers signed up for Verizon's straightforward, low-cost long-distance plans. At the same time, about an equal number of customers have chosen to get their local phone service from one of our competitors. The department's support of Verizon's long-distance application means that Bay Staters can look forward to having the full choice that New Yorkers now enjoy."