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Bell Atlantic Files Long Distance Application with FCC
Company Seeks Permission to Serve New York; On Track To Be First Bell Allowed into Long-Distance Market
September 29, 1999
WASHINGTON - Bell Atlantic today applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide long-distance service to more than eight million homes and businesses in New York.
The filing follows a two and one-half year, comprehensive effort to open Bell Atlantic's local network to competitors and meet the long distance entry requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. If the application is approved, Bell Atlantic will become the first Regional Bell Operating Company to offer long distance inside its own service area, providing one stop shopping for domestic and international telecommunications services to all of its customers in the state.
"We've met the requirements of the Telecommunications Act. We have earned the opportunity to add long distance to our suite of services, and our customers demand nothing less," said Ivan Seidenberg, Bell Atlantic chairman and chief executive.
The filing provides extensive detail on the steps Bell Atlantic has taken to meet a 14-point competitive checklist specified in the act. This checklist contains the criteria regional Bell companies must honor to open their local networks to competitors. Fulfilling this checklist is a prerequisite for a Bell company to receive federal permission to offer long-distance service within its local service area.
"Bell Atlantic has invested more than $1 billion to ensure that our network is available and open to our wholesale customers," said James G. Cullen, president and chief operating officer, Bell Atlantic. "We can and are doing the job for these carriers. As a result, the local market in New York is irreversibly, indisputably open - today.
"This is not just our claim," Cullen said. "Bell Atlantic is the first regional Bell in the country to have its application comprehensively validated by an independent test."
The filing caps a collaborative process involving Bell Atlantic and the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) that began with the company's state long-distance filing in February 1997. During the review, Bell Atlantic proposed and implemented a set of groundbreaking commitments to further open the local market to competitors.
That test included an extensive, unparalleled examination of Bell Atlantic's operations support systems (OSS). Competitors use the OSS to interact with Bell Atlantic's networks and systems and to switch Bell Atlantic customers to competing services. The company met or exceeded 99.4 percent of the 855 test criteria administered by independent auditor KPMG Peat Marwick. Today's FCC filing provides ample evidence that competition is thriving in the New York telecommunications marketplace:
- Competitors are providing one million local phone lines in New York;
- Bell Atlantic has 74 agreements with competitors to serve customers using Bell Atlantic facilities;
- Bell Atlantic has more than 349,000 interconnection trunks and approximately 800 collocation arrangements in place throughout New York;
- Approximately 180,000 local phone numbers have moved from Bell Atlantic to competitors;
- Competitors have deployed nearly 6,000 route-miles of fiber optics and at least 47 local switches;
- 1,068 three-digit exchange codes have been assigned to competitors, giving them access to more than 10 million local phone numbers.
"Getting approval to offer long distance in New York means being able to play at full strength in one of the toughest, most competitive, and most dynamic communications markets in the world," Seidenberg said. "And no one knows the New York market better than we. Our long distance team is ready to prove it. We want to see the logjam broken on long distance competition - not just in New York but all around the country."
"Bell Atlantic intends to provide a clear choice to consumers at a time when confusion reigns in the long distance marketplace," Cullen said. "With the FCC's approval of this application, we'll deliver simple, creative calling plans, on a single bill. And customers will be assured they're receiving those services from the one trustworthy source that understands all their local, toll, and long distance calling needs: Bell Atlantic."
The FCC has 90 days to review Bell Atlantic's long-distance filing. The New York PSC and the Department of Justice will make their recommendations to the FCC before it makes a final decision.
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With more than 43 million telephone access lines and nearly 10 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.