05.24.1999|Corporate

Bell Atlantic to Massachusetts Regulators: Open the Gates -- We're Ready to Provide Long Distance

Bell Atlantic to Massachusetts Regulators: Open the Gates -- We're Ready to Provide Long Distance

State Filing Shows Local Markets Open, Telecommunications Act Requirements Met

May 24, 1999

Media contact: Jack Hoey, 617-743-4760
Shannon Fioravanti, 215-963-6639

BOSTON -- Bell Atlantic today demonstrated to Massachusetts regulators that the company's local network is irreversibly open to competitors, and that federal and state requirements for Bell Atlantic to provide long distance service in the state are fulfilled.

"We've met or exceeded the expectations Congress established in the Telecommunications Act," said Wayne Budd, group president -- New England, Bell Atlantic. "And there is no reason for Bell Atlantic to be locked out of the long distance market any longer."

In a filing with the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE), Bell Atlantic showed it has gone the distance to open its network in myriad ways:

  • Resold Lines: Competitors serve their customers on 138,000 lines purchased from Bell Atlantic at steeply discounted rates;

  • 98 Competitors: Some 98 companies are vying to provide local phone service, either by leasing those lines from Bell Atlantic or by buying Bell Atlantic network elements to add to their own;

  • Hundreds of Collocation Arrangements: Competitors have over 400 collocation arrangements with Bell Atlantic, enabling companies to place their own equipment in our central office facilities to serve customers easily. More than 100 additional arrangements are underway, giving competitors potential access to 68 percent of Bell Atlantic's residence lines and 81 percent of the company's business lines;

  • Thousands of Loops for Competitors: Bell Atlantic is providing more than 3,600 unbundled local loops to competitors.

  • 911 Accessible: Bell Atlantic provides easy, non- discriminatory access to 911 service, and has more than 215,000 facilities-based competitors' lines in the emergency 911 database;

  • Operator Services Available: Bell Atlantic has provided easy, affordable options to competitors using our directory assistance services and dial-"0" operator call completion services;

  • Ample Trunking Facilities: As of February, 1999, there are more than 108,000 interconnection trunks in service between competitors and Bell Atlantic.

  • Robust Operations Support Systems: Bell Atlantic's electronic systems available to competitors are capable of processing quantities of transactions and orders that exceed the expected peak demand. These systems are among the most efficient in the telecommunications industry.

During a news conference today, Budd said, "The success story we unveil is a shared one.

The DTE has decided literally hundreds of issues over the past several years to put in place the right conditions for opening local markets. As a result of the DTE's work, any company that says it can't compete with us simply won't. These naysayers shouldn't be allowed to stand in the way of real consumer choice as well as economic growth and development any longer."

Budd said that the growing demand by competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) for new interconnection services is expected to result in a 100 percent increase in jobs at the Franklin Street resale and unbundling centers over the next year.

"And the outlook improves as we enter long distance," Budd added. "Breaking the oligopoly of AT&T, MCI WorldCom and Sprint will spur increased investment in technology, lead to new services, create business growth and new job opportunities.

"As the state's largest private employer, our success will have a huge, positive impact on the economic growth of the commonwealth."

The DTE is expected to consider Bell Atlantic's filing over the next 90 days. Following the DTE's review, the company is expected to file with the Federal Communications Commission, which must act within 90 days.

"We fully expect this process to move smoothly and to deliver to our customers what they've been demanding since the passage of the Telecommunications Act: competitively priced local, regional toll and long distance calling plans, all on one bill," Budd said. "Simplicity and trust will be the order of the day for Bell Atlantic. We plan to put an end to the gimmicks and confusion perpetuated by the long distance oligopoly."

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With 43 million telephone access lines and nine 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.

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