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Bell Atlantic Ready to Offer Long Distance in New York
State Filing Shows Regulators Local Markets are Open
April 14, 1999
NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic today told New York regulators that the
company's local network is irreversibly open, the state's local phone
market is competitive, and that federal and state requirements for Bell
Atlantic to provide long distance service have been fulfilled.
"Bell Atlantic faced the most stringent conditions ever placed on an
American telephone company seeking to enter a new business, and we're
meeting the challenge," said James G. Cullen, president and COO, Bell
Atlantic. "Our markets are open to competitors, we serve them well, and
we must be freed to give our customers what they demand: long distance
In a filing with the New York Public Service Commission (PSC), Bell
Atlantic demonstrated how it is satisfying the 14-point checklist to open
the local telephone market as required by the Telecommunications Act of
In the 118-page document, Bell Atlantic cites more than 400 issues that
have been resolved in order to satisfy the checklist and to meet the
demands of companies wishing to compete in the local telephone market
in New York.
"We ran a two-year marathon, carefully following detailed requirements
along a path set by the PSC and supported by the Justice Department,"
Cullen noted. "Along the way, we met new demands from our
competitors and regulators time and again, refining our processes, meeting
their needs. This was truly a collaborative process, and it worked."
Bell Atlantic has been working with regulators since 1997 to bring the
benefits of long distance competition to all, including small customers
now being shut out by big companies like AT&T.
The company now enters the final phase of the New York review of its
long distance application.
The filing follows the April 7 release of initial results from an extensive,
seven-month test of Bell Atlantic's operations support systems in New
York. The test, conducted by independent auditing firm KPMG Peat
Marwick under the direction of the PSC, examined Bell Atlantic's
processes for enabling competitors to interact with the company and to
switch customers away to their service.
Early results of the KPMG evaluation indicate that Bell Atlantic
successfully met more than 90 percent of approximately 450 test criteria,
even when the systems were stressed to maximum capacity.
"Our systems and our employees responded beautifully under the most
extreme demands by our competing customers and KPMG," Cullen said.
"In fact, we showed unequivocally that we can manage whatever the
competitors send us."
Bell Atlantic has spent approximately $1 billion to open its local markets
to competitors throughout the region. Bell Atlantic's costs also included
training competitors' employees to use the company's new ordering
Thousands of hours of work and over 500 employees were required to
develop the complex systems needed to support the competitors' needs in
"The data accompanying this filing tell a story of strong overall
performance," Cullen said. "Still, many of our competitors will press the
PSC to ignore these excellent results, focusing instead on a few issues
we're still working on. We think the Commission will recognize that, in a
leading edge business, perfection is elusive."
The $8 billion New York long distance market represents a significant
opportunity for Bell Atlantic. The company expects to submit its
application to the FCC within the next few months and intends to launch
its long distance service 90 days later.
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With 42 million telephone access lines and 8.6
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.
EDITORS NOTE: A summary of the 14-point checklist contained in the
Telecommunications Act of 1996 is attached to this news release.
Telecommunications Act, 1996
Before Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), including
Bell Atlantic, can offer long-distance service, the companies must
comply with a 14-point checklist as specified in the
Telecommunications Act of 1996.
- Interconnection between the RBOC network and the networks
of competing telecommunications carriers
- Nondiscriminatory access on an unbundled basis to network
- Nondiscriminatory access to poles, conduits, rights of way, etc.
- Unbundled local loop transmission from the central office to
the customer's premises
- Unbundled local transport from the trunk side of a local
exchange carrier switch
- Unbundled local switching
- Nondiscriminatory access to 911 and E911 services, directory
assistance and operator call completion services
- White pages directory listings
- Nondiscriminatory access to telephone numbers for assignment
- Nondiscriminatory access to databases and associated signaling
necessary for call routing and completion
- Telephone number portability
- Local dialing parity
- Reciprocal compensation arrangements
- Telecommunications services offered for resale