DOVER, Del. -- Delaware customers are a major step closer to enjoying full telecommunications competition as Verizon today asked the state Public Service Commission (PSC) to support the company's upcoming application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to offer long-distance service in the First State.
Saying that the state's local telephone market is irreversibly open to competition, Verizon is taking the next step in its bid to offer long-distance services to consumers and businesses in Delaware. The PSC had asked that Verizon notify the commission 90 days in advance of the company's intent to file a long-distance application with the FCC.
"It's time for Delawareans to reap the benefits of full telecommunications competition," said Joshua W. Martin III, president of Verizon Delaware. "We have worked long and hard to reach this point, and we look forward to demonstrating our readiness to the PSC.
"Delaware consumers and businesses deserve the added choices and significant savings that people in other states, such as Pennsylvania enjoy today," said Martin.
In addition to Pennsylvania, Verizon has received FCC approval to offer long-distance service in New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Applications are pending at the FCC for New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Consumers in Pennsylvania could save up to $450 million annually in local and long-distance charges because Verizon has entered the long-distance market in that state, according to a study by the Telecommunications Research and Action Center (TRAC), a consumer group that follows telecom issues.
New Yorkers are saving up to $700 million per year in local and long-distance charges since Verizon began providing long-distance service there in January 2000, a separate TRAC study found.
Verizon's filing today with the Delaware PSC shows in extensive detail that the company has met the 14-point competitive checklist specified in the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. This checklist stipulates the criteria that former regional Bell companies must satisfy to demonstrate they have opened their markets to competitors. Meeting this checklist is a prerequisite for Verizon to receive federal permission to offer long-distance service in Delaware.
Price Waterhouse Coopers, an international accounting and consulting firm, has issued a report verifying that Verizon's Delaware operations support systems (OSS) are the same as those already reviewed by the FCC when it approved Verizon's Pennsylvania long-distance application. Competitors use Verizon's OSS when they switch local customers' service from Verizon.
Today's Verizon filing provides ample evidence that local telecommunications competition is thriving in Delaware:
- More than 43,000 Delaware telephone lines are served by competitors, at least 6.7 percent of the local exchange market.
- Approximately 1.85 million telephone numbers have been assigned to competitors.
- Verizon has approximately 75 agreements with competitors to link its network with theirs, allowing competitors to offer local service using Verizon facilities.
- Approximately 35 companies are currently active in the local exchange market in Delaware.
- At least 10 competing companies have installed telecommunications equipment in 22 Verizon switching centers throughout the state.
- Competitors have access to 91 percent of Verizon's residential telephone lines and 97 percent of its business lines in Delaware through these collocation arrangements.
During the next 90 days, the PSC will review all the evidence from Verizon, its competitors and other parties to verify that the local market is irreversibly open to competition.
"When the Delaware commission completes its rigorous examination of the record, we are confident that it will support our long-distance application to the FCC," said Martin.
Once the company completes the PSC review process and files its application with the FCC, the FCC has 90 days to review Verizon's long-distance bid. In making its decision, the FCC will consider the recommendations of Delaware PSC and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 132.1 million access line equivalents and 29.4 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with 247,000 employees and approximately $67 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.