Verizon Seeks Approval to Offer Long-Distance Service in Connecticut

WASHINGTON - Verizon New York today asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for permission to offer long-distance service in Connecticut. Verizon serves only a small part of Connecticut, the two communities of Byram and Greenwich, out of its New York operations.

''We are using the same wholesale systems and processes in Greenwich and Byram that the FCC reviewed when it approved our application for New York,'' said Tom Tauke, Verizon senior vice president of public policy & external affairs. ''These are the systems and processes we have used to provision more than three million competitive lines and the same ones the FCC has already found satisfy the requirements of the Telecommunications Act's 14-point checklist.''

Verizon's wholesale systems and processes enable its rivals to use parts of the company's network to provide local service to their customers.

In December 1999, the FCC certified that Verizon met the requirements of the act in New York when it granted the company permission to offer long distance there. New York was the first state in which a former Bell company received approval to enter the long-distance market. The Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control determined April 11 that Verizon meets the 14-point checklist in that state. Last week, the FCC granted Verizon approval to offer long distance in Massachusetts effective April 26, making it the second state in which the company has received approval.

In Connecticut, the area Verizon serves contains only about 60,000 lines, which is approximately half the number of lines that Verizon provisions to competitors in an average month in New York.

''There is no reason that our customers in Connecticut should not be enjoying the benefits of competition that their neighbors in New York have had since we were allowed to offer long distance there,'' said Paul Crotty, Verizon New York/Connecticut president.

The Telecommunications Research and Action Center, an independent watchdog consumer group, estimates that New Yorkers saved $220 million on telecommunications services last year after Verizon offered long-distance service in that state.

The FCC has until July 23 to rule on Verizon's Connecticut application.

In addition to New York, Verizon offers long-distance service in 36 other states, formerly served by GTE Long Distance. On March 5, Verizon announced that it had five million long-distance customers and is the country's fourth largest long-distance company.

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 nearly 109 million access line equivalents and more than 28 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $63 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com