Bell Atlantic Makes History by Providing Local Number Portability to Competitors in New York
Company First to Fill Orders for Advanced Service Allowing
Customers to Keep Phone Numbers When Changing Local Phone Companies
January 19, 1998
NEW YORK -- Two telephone companies competing with Bell Atlantic
Corp. in New York are the first in the country to use long-term local
number portability service (LNP), which allows customers to change
their local phone company without changing their phone numbers.
Bell Atlantic is providing LNP in Manhattan to AT&T and MCI, which
compete against Bell Atlantic in the local market. In addition to
providing LNP in New York, Bell Atlantic has offered the service
since last fall in Philadelphia, and Gaithersburg, Md., a Washington
D.C. suburb, but so far, the company has received orders only from
competitors in Manhattan. Bell Atlantic plans to offer LNP in more
than 300 telephone offices serving more than 10 million phone lines by
Feb. 28, and will offer the service in 24 major metropolitan areas and
additional areas by the end of this year.
"Bell Atlantic is committed to opening our local markets to
competition. Making local number portability available and actually
providing it to our competitors is dramatic evidence of our
commitment to get the job done," said Jack Goldberg, president -
Telecom Industry Services for Bell Atlantic. "We've invested hundreds
of millions of dollars to stimulate competition and bring choices and
convenience to telephone customers.
"This is a monumental task that can't be completed in a few weeks or
even a few months. We have to upgrade systems, software, data bases
and ordering processes to make long-term local number portability
available, and we marshalled a small army of employees to make it
happen. We're glad that some of our competitors are finally ordering
local number portability because Bell Atlantic has offered it for some
time with no takers, and we worked very hard to make it available and
meet our commitment under the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996,"
Bell Atlantic began providing long-term local number portability to
AT&T in Manhattan on Dec. 29, 1997 and first filled an order from MCI
in Manhattan on Jan. 9. Bell Atlantic's long-term local number
portability service meets requirements of the Federal Communications
Commission and local regulatory agencies. It's the latest evidence of
Bell Atlantic's compliance with the 14-point checklist created by the
Telecom Act to bring competition to local phone markets.
Prior to this solution, Bell Atlantic was satisfying this
requirement with a form of local number portability that uses the
company's remote call forwarding service. That process used up
additional phone numbers that could have been assigned to other
customers. The supply of U.S. telephone numbers is being rapidly
exhausted as local competition increases and people use more cellular,
fax, modem and extra phone lines.
The new solution Bell Atlantic is deploying does not require the use
of a second phone number and addresses the mandate from the FCC for a
long-term form of local number portability. Instead of relying on
remote call forwarding, the system uses intelligent network systems
and a remote database. This database stores the "ported" phone
numbers of customers who have changed local phone companies, as well
as the "location routing numbers," which are assigned to each
competing local telephone company's switch that handles calls.
Since the Act was signed less than two years ago, Bell Atlantic has
negotiated about 400 agreements with dozens of competing local
telephone companies. These agreements allow competitors to connect to
Bell Atlantic's network and in many cases to resell Bell Atlantic's
"Bell Atlantic has lived up to its commitment to speed local
competition," Goldberg said. "Now it's time to allow us into long
distance so consumers can benefit from real competition and real
choices in the long distance marketplace."
Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX -
is at the forefront of the new communications, information and
entertainment industry. With 40 million telephone access lines and 5.8
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 21 countries.