Bell Atlantic Responds to Maryland PSC Denial of AT&T's Grab for
Unfair Competitive Advantage
December 16, 1998
BACKGROUND -- The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) today
denied a request by AT&T to implement a dialing plan for regional toll calls by
Feb. 8, 1999. AT&T wrongly claimed that federal law required the commission to
order implementation of this dialing plan, called "intraLATA presubscription,"
by Feb. 8, 1999. The following may be attributed to Sherry F. Bellamy, president
and CEO of Bell Atlantic - Maryland, Inc.:
"We're pleased that the commission correctly interpreted the Telecommunications
Act of 1996. It is not required to order this dialing plan by Feb. 8.
"AT&T is the Number One long distance provider. This giant can, and does,
compete today in Maryland's regional toll market. It also is free to compete for
local telephone service in Maryland -- but it has been content to sit on the sidelines
and complain instead. This request by AT&T was just another attempt to gain an
unfair competitive advantage over Bell Atlantic - Maryland, which still is
prohibited from offering long distance service.
"Only when all companies can offer all types of telecommunications services to
all customers will Marylanders truly benefit from the Telecom Act. We continue
to believe that the appropriate timing for implementing this dialing plan is when
Bell Atlantic is allowed to provide long distance service in Maryland, a position
the commission has stated in previous orders."