BACKGROUND - The U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today recommended that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approve Verizon's application for permission to offer long-distance service in New Jersey. DOJ routinely gives the FCC an evaluation of long-distance applications, which the commission considers before it makes a final decision. Verizon filed the New Jersey application with the FCC Dec. 20. The FCC must rule on the application by March 20. The following response should be attributed to Sarah Deutsch, vice president and associate general counsel for Verizon.
"We are very pleased that the Department of Justice has recommended that the FCC approve our long-distance application in New Jersey. The DOJ's thorough evaluation, confirming the report of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, acknowledges that Verizon has succeeded in opening its local market in New Jersey to broad-based competition.
"Consumers in New Jersey deserve to enjoy the same benefits of competition as residents in states where Verizon has won approval to offer long distance. In neighboring New York, for example, consumers are saving up to $700 million annually since Verizon began offering long distance there and are continuing to benefit from reduced local and long-distance rates. We look forward to the FCC's approval of our application so Verizon can provide these same pro-competitive benefits to consumers in New Jersey."