BACKGROUND -- The Telecommunications Research & Action Center (TRAC) in a study released today projects that New Jersey telephone consumers could save between $22 million and $167 million ($29 to $221 per customer) on their long-distance bills in the first year after Verizon begins offering long distance. TRAC is the nation's oldest and largest consumer group devoted exclusively to consumer interest in telecommunications. Verizon will soon file an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to offer long-distance service in the Garden State. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities is currently reviewing evidence it will use to provide a recommendation to the FCC. The following response should be attributed to Dennis Bone, president of Verizon New Jersey.
"We are not surprised at these projected savings. Increased competition for both long-distance and local phone services was found in TRAC and Federal Communications Commission studies in New York and other states where the former Bell local phone companies offer long distance.
"The New Jersey study projects that consumers who switch to Verizon Long Distance could save from $2.46 to $18.44 per month, with the greatest savings for low-volume users, including low-income and older residents. Garden State consumers should not have to wait for these savings."