Bell Atlantic to AT&T: Stop Complaining, Start Competing

Bell Atlantic to AT&T: Stop Complaining, Start Competing

As Local Phone Competition Explodes, Bell Atlantic-NY Systems Continue to Handle Thousands of Orders Daily

March 7, 2000

Media contact: Susan Butta, 202-336-7883

BACKGROUND - Last December Bell Atlantic became the first regional bell operating company (RBOC) to be allowed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to offer long distance service to consumers in New York State. That permission was granted based on more than two years of testing and establishing a record that proved that the local telephone network in New York is irreversibly open to all competitors. In the first months of processing orders from its wholesale customers - who also are its competitors - Bell Atlantic experienced some software problems that have since been resolved. AT&T held a news conference in Washington, D.C. today claiming that Bell Atlantic's Operating Support Systems (OSS) are not working properly. The following statement may be attributed to Tom Tauke, senior vice president for government relations at Bell Atlantic.

AT&T's statements are wrong.

Competition is alive and well in New York. Local competitors have captured more than 1.5 million local telephone lines throughout the state. Our operating support systems (OSS) are now successfully handling more than 10,000 orders a day from our wholesale customers.

We are committed to meeting the needs of all our wholesale customers. And we are constantly updating, expanding, and improving our systems to provide high quality service. Other carriers are taking advantage of these system improvements; it's time for AT&T to stop complaining and do the same.

Today 's comments are another skirmish in AT&T's decade long battle opposing competition in the long distance marketplace. They lost the battle at the state level, at the FCC, and have been losing in the courts. Yet they still continue to play the regulatory blame game.

AT&T's statements are wrong. Tens of thousands of orders have not been lost. In fact, customers in New York have choice, and over a million customers are being served by AT&T and others.

AT&T should stop blaming others for every problem. It is AT&T that billed New York customers toll rates for local calls. It is AT&T that cut off long distance service to City Hall in Albany. And it is up to AT&T to compete in the marketplace in New York.

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