BACKGROUND -- The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) currently is considering whether to support Verizon's upcoming application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide long-distance service in the Garden State. Starting today Pennsylvanians now can enjoy innovative, straightforward long-distance calling plans from Verizon. An independent study by the Telecommunications Research and Action Center (TRAC) found that Pennsylvania consumers could save up to $452 million in the first year after Verizon enters the long-distance business in the state. A separate TRAC study has found New Yorkers are saving up to $700 million annually in local and long-distance charges. The following response should be attributed to Dennis Bone, president of Verizon New Jersey.
"There is absolutely no reason for Garden State consumers to wait for the proven savings from full competition enjoyed by residents in New York, Massachusetts, and now Pennsylvania. By any measure, the local market in New Jersey is irrevocably open. When the BPU completes its exhaustive examination of the record, the test results and competitors' actual experience using our computer systems, we're confident it will support our long-distance application to the FCC."