Bell Atlantic Responds to Pennsylvania PUC's Decision

Bell Atlantic Responds to Pennsylvania PUC's Decision To Combine Consideration of Telecommunications Issues

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Background -- The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission today announced that it will combine the consideration of a number of telecommunications-related issues -- including universal service, access charge reform and Bell Atlantic's entry into long distance -- currently before the commission into a "global settlement conference." The following statement may be attributed to Daniel J. Whelan, president and CEO, Bell Atlantic - Pennsylvania:

"We're pleased that the Public Utility Commission is moving forward to resolve the many critical issues facing our industry through this combined proceeding. Bell Atlantic will be an active participant in the process, which we hope will bring a reasonable, prompt resolution to these issues.

"Local competition is here today, and it's growing tremendously. Numerous companies throughout the commonwealth are offering local phone service. Those who wrongly claim competition isn't developing are led by AT&T and MCI, two of the companies who could provide potent competition for local service but who, to date, have been more content to complain. Only when Bell Atlantic is able to offer long distance service head-to-head against these long distance giants will AT&T and MCI really begin to compete in the local market for businesses and, particularly, for residential customers.

"We have maintained all along that the best outcome for Pennsylvanians is full competition in all markets by all players. Let's move the game out of the hearing room and on to the field of competition."

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