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Bell Atlantic, GTE Respond
To Pennsylvania PUC Judge's Merger
Recommendation Ignores Merger Benefits,
Regulatory Action across Country
September 30, 1999
BACKGROUND -- An administrative law judge for the Pennsylvania
Public Utility Commission has recommended that the merger application
of Bell Atlantic and GTE be disapproved without prejudice. In the
recommendation, the judge outlines a number of requirements that the
companies must meet before filing an amended application with the
commission. The following should be attributed to Daniel J. Whelan,
president and CEO of Bell Atlantic - Pennsylvania, and John O. Dudley,
assistant vice president-regulatory and government affairs of GTE-North:
"It's important to note that today's recommendation by the
administrative law judge is just that -- a recommendation. We're hopeful
that the full commission will recognize the many benefits of our proposed
merger and approve it.
"The judge's recommendation totally ignores state and federal
regulatory actions across the country, the substantial benefits to
Pennsylvanians of the Bell Atlantic-GTE merger and the realities of
today's telecommunications marketplace.
"To date, the Bell Atlantic-GTE merger has passed muster with 30
states and the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition, Pennsylvania's
attorney general -- the state's chief law-enforcement officer - has agreed
that the merger approval is in the public interest subject to stringent
conditions agreed to by the companies.
"The merger of our companies will make them stronger and better
able to compete against global companies like AT&T and MCI
WorldCom. Pennsylvanians will benefit from our merged companies'
stronger position. We will be able to invest additional resources in
improved service and innovative new technologies.
"This has happened before. Since Bell Atlantic's merger with
NYNEX, the company's annual investment in its Pennsylvania
infrastructure has nearly doubled, resulting in better service and new
products for rural, suburban and urban Pennsylvania.
"In fact, the few vocal opponents of our merger are those very
companies who have a vested interest in seeing that it doesn't
Bell Atlantic and GTE announced in July 1998 that they planned a merger of equals.
More information is available at Bell Atlantic's News Center on the World Wide Web
(http://www.ba.com) or at GTE's homepage (http://www.gte.com).