Bell Atlantic Supports PUC Request for Supreme Court To Return Global
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Bell Atlantic Supports PUC Request for
To Return Global Case to Commission
'Let the Commission Do Its Job'
February 22, 2000
HARRISBURG, Pa. - The public interest of Pennsylvania's citizens is
best served by giving the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC)
the ability to do its job, Bell Atlantic today told the state Supreme Court.
Bell Atlantic's filing supports a PUC request that asks the Supreme Court
to overturn a recent Commonwealth Court decision and return a critical
telecommunications case to the Commission.
The Commission last month asked Commonwealth Court to return
jurisdiction of the Commission's global telecommunications order so the
agency could consider a settlement proposal by more than a dozen
telecommunications competitors and consumer groups. The group
includes Bell Atlantic, Sprint, GTE, Conectiv Communications, CTSI,
RCN, the state Office of Small Business Advocate, the Public Utility Law
Project and other consumer groups.
The settlement proposal was made in response to an invitation from the
PUC, which called on the parties to the global proceeding to negotiate a
settlement in lieu of litigating pending court appeals of the order by Bell
Atlantic and others. The global order, among other things, wrongly
requires Bell Atlantic to split its Pennsylvania operations into two separate
Commonwealth Court refused the Commission's request on Feb. 3 and
scheduled oral arguments on various court appeals of the order for May.
Special interests led by AT&T and MCI WorldCom had opposed the
"This matter is critical to the future of telecommunications
competition in Pennsylvania," said Daniel J. Whelan, president and
CEO of Bell Atlantic - Pennsylvania. "With the Commission's
hands tied, it cannot consider a compromise proposal made by consumer
groups and telecommunications companies that would benefit consumers
and competitors throughout the Commonwealth. The proposal also would
avoid protracted litigation that would further delay full
"The people of Pennsylvania are being harmed by the Commission's
inability to do its job and consider this proposal. We're asking the
Supreme Court to allow full telecommunications competition in
If adopted by the Commission, the proposal would increase consumer
savings, expand the availability of affordable telephone service for low-
income customers, fuel local phone competition throughout the
Commonwealth, especially in rural areas, and hasten full competition in
all of Pennsylvania's telecommunications markets.
Adoption of this settlement also would prod AT&T and MCI WorldCom
into the local residential phone market. "These companies are
fervently opposing the proposal for their own narrow, selfish
reasons," said Whelan. "AT&T and its cronies are fighting to
scuttle this proposal, which is in every way at least as beneficial to them as
the Commission's Sept. 30 global order.
"Their actions reveal their true motive - to delay Bell Atlantic's
entry into the long-distance business for as long as possible. Only when
they face true competition from Bell Atlantic in the long-distance market
will AT&T and MCI WorldCom apply any energy to competing for
Pennsylvanians' local phone service. This is exactly what happened in
New York, where Bell Atlantic is offering long-distance service and
AT&T and MCI WorldCom have joined dozens of other companies in
competing for customers' local phone service."
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With nearly 44 million telephone access lines and 12 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.