04.14.1999|Corporate

Bell Atlantic Ready to Offer Long Distance in New York

Bell Atlantic Ready to Offer Long Distance in New York

State Filing Shows Regulators Local Markets are Open

April 14, 1999

Media contact: Mark Marchand, 518-396-1080
Shannon Fioravanti, 215-963-6639

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 services now."

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 1996.

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 systems.

Thousands of hours of work and over 500 employees were required to develop the complex systems needed to support the competitors' needs in New York.

"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

14-Point Checklist

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.

  1. Interconnection between the RBOC network and the networks of competing telecommunications carriers

  2. Nondiscriminatory access on an unbundled basis to network elements

  3. Nondiscriminatory access to poles, conduits, rights of way, etc.

  4. Unbundled local loop transmission from the central office to the customer's premises

  5. Unbundled local transport from the trunk side of a local exchange carrier switch

  6. Unbundled local switching

  7. Nondiscriminatory access to 911 and E911 services, directory assistance and operator call completion services

  8. White pages directory listings

  9. Nondiscriminatory access to telephone numbers for assignment

  10. Nondiscriminatory access to databases and associated signaling necessary for call routing and completion

  11. Telephone number portability

  12. Local dialing parity

  13. Reciprocal compensation arrangements

  14. Telecommunications services offered for resale

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