BACKGROUND -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today to uphold the FCC's decision on pricing jurisdiction and certain other rules on how local telephone companies connect to one another's networks. Bell Atlantic is currently studying today's Supreme Court decision and will continue to evaluate its impact over the next several days.
The following response should be attributed to James G. Cullen, president and chief operating officer of Bell Atlantic.
While many of these rules have been debated in the courts, Bell Atlantic has moved very aggressively to open its network to all those who choose to compete with us. As of the end of 1998 Bell Atlantic had spent $1 billion and dedicated more than 1,000 employees to opening the local marketplace to competition.
In addition, all the state public service commissions in our serving area have set prices that are consistent with the FCC's rules.
Bell Atlantic has already committed to offering "platforms"" in New York on terms that are consistent with today's Supreme Court decision. "Platforms" provide a way to get all the pieces of the network so competitors can offer the same services to their customers as Bell Atlantic offers.
Finally, today's decision makes it clear that elements of our network do not have to be unbundled when they are available from other sources, including pieces competitors can provide themselves. This is especially significant because competitors in the Bell Atlantic region already have widely deployed their own switches, fiber, operator services and other elements that they clearly do not need from us.