Verizon Urges FCC to Approve Massachusetts Long Distance Application

WASHINGTON - Verizon Communications today will tell the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that competitors have captured over 16 percent of the telephone lines in Massachusetts and are gaining one percent every six weeks.

In comments that will be filed later today, Verizon urges the FCC to approve its application to provide long-distance services in Massachusetts, saying that the level of competition there is the highest yet seen by the FCC in any state where a former regional Bell company has applied for long-distance entry. Competitors in Massachusetts serve more than 850,000 lines, most through their own facilities.

"These numbers clearly demonstrate that the Massachusetts telecommunications market is irreversibly open," said Tom Tauke, Verizon senior vice president of external affairs and public policy. "In addition, an extensive third-party test and other independent evaluations confirm that our performance meets or exceeds all the checklist criteria."

On Jan. 16, Verizon's refiled its Massachusetts application to the FCC adding extensive evidence that Verizon provides non-discriminatory access to lines other DSL (digital subscriber line) providers lease from the company. The firm PricewaterhouseCoopers independently validated this performance.

Today's filing provides still further proof that this is the case. In the two most recent months, Verizon has met more than 97 percent of its installation appointments for DSL-capable loops, some 96 percent of those loops experience no trouble, and, for the small fraction that do, Verizon repairs them in a timely and non-discriminatory manner.

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE) told the FCC that it had concluded Verizon's supplemental filing "supports and further confirms" the DTE's original conclusion that the company has "met its obligations under section 271, and accordingly recommends, without reservation," that the FCC grant the application. The DTE conducted an exhaustive 16-month study of the application before recommending its approval.

In its assessment issued last week, the Department of Justice acknowledged that the resubmitted application was stronger than the original filing last fall and that Verizon had made improvements in line-sharing measures and providing equal access to DSL loops. While it recognized that there is a substantial amount of competition in the state, the DOJ deferred to the FCC for its ruling on the Verizon application and urged the commission to examine the full record.

Tauke said, "When the complete record is reviewed it is clear that Verizon has met the requirements of the Telecommunications Act. Massachusetts is one of the most competitive telecommunications markets in the country. The people of Massachusetts deserve to receive the same benefits of the act that New Yorkers have enjoyed during the past year. Since Verizon was allowed to enter the long-distance market there, consumers in New York have saved more than $200 million in both local and long-distance services. Clearly, the FCC would serve the public good by approving this application"

In addition to the 850,000 customers now served by competitors in Massachusetts, Tauke noted:

  • Verizon processes about 1,400 local service requests from Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs) in Massachusetts each day;
  • Verizon has 103 agreements with competitors enabling them to serve their customers using Verizon's facilities;
  • Verizon has more than 355,000 interconnection trunks and more than 1,700 collocation arrangements to serve competitors throughout the Commonwealth;
  • Verizon has interconnected to about 50 local switches owned by CLECs; and
    14 million telephone numbers have been assigned to competitors.

Some 75 national and state organizations have urged the FCC to approve Verizon's application to provide long-distance services to Massachusetts customers including the National Urban League, the Alliance for Public Technology, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Council on the Aging, the Cape Cod Technology Council, the Merrimack (Mass.) Valley Economic Development Council, the Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board and dozens of other national and Massachusetts civic and economic development organizations.

Verizon Communications

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 27.5 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the world's largest provider of print and online directory information. 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.