Bell Atlantic Confident that Long Distance Approval will Prevail

Company Files Comments in Federal Court

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BACKGROUND -- After years of exhaustive review by both the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), Bell Atlantic was granted permission by the FCC to enter the long distance market in New York State on Dec. 22. On Dec. 23 AT&T asked the FCC to stay its decision. The FCC denied AT&T's request. On Dec. 28, AT&T asked the United States Court of Appeals to stay the FCC's order. Today Bell Atlantic filed its response to AT&T's court action. In addition, both the New York PSC and the FCC filed comments in opposition to AT&T's request today. The following statement may be attributed to Michael E. Glover, associate general counsel for Bell Atlantic.

We expected nothing less of AT&T than to continue its several-year-long effort to keep us out of the long distance market by any available means. However, we remain confident that AT&T's request for a stay will be denied, and that our long distance offering in New York will not be delayed. Our plans to begin offering a long distance alternative to consumers this week in the state of New York remain unchanged. We will announce our complete initial long distance offer at a news conference in New York tomorrow morning.

Our filing today reflects our confidence in the record that Bell Atlantic established, first before the New York PSC and then before the FCC during its review of our application to offer long distance service to consumers in New York State. It also demonstrates our belief that companies who challenge the FCC's decision are driven by a fervent desire to keep a strong new competitor out of the long distance market in New York.

We believe that the best course of action -- the one that is most beneficial for consumers -- is to let the marketplace work. New long distance competitors, like Bell Atlantic, can bring the people of New York real choice and offer the best possible long distance products and services. That is the same conclusion reached by the FCC and New York PSC, and we are confident their conclusion will be sustained.

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