Processing orders from competitors is no sweat for Bell Atlantic's wholesale operations centers in Manhattan and Boston. A "stress test" showed the operations can handle up to eight times the number of current orders.
During a recent trial, Bell Atlantic checked the centers' ability to electronically process thousands of orders for customers switching from one local phone company to another.
"Not since McDonald's have so many orders been taken so quickly," said Jack Goldberg, president - Telecom Industry Services for Bell Atlantic. "When the test orders came to the wholesale centers, they were processed quickly and accurately. We're confident that our systems and employees can handle all the orders that competitors send our way."
An independent accounting firm is sifting through the trial data to see how smoothly the changes were made. But the Bell Atlantic service representatives who facilitated the trial already are beaming.
During the trial, Bell Atlantic's wholesale centers handled from 4,000 to 8,000 orders a day and processed 12,000 to 14,000 electronic messages about new service, facilities provisioning, maintenance, repair and billing.
On an average day, the wholesale centers handle more than 1,000 orders from companies that are providing residence and small business phone service in competition with Bell Atlantic.
The results are expected to help Bell Atlantic win approval from regulators to enter the $20-billion long distance business in the Bell Atlantic region. Under the provisions of the Telecommunications Act, Bell Atlantic must show that its markets are open to competition before it can offer long distance service.
The company has already made enormous strides to accommodate local competition in its East Coast service area. In the 20 months since the signing of the act, Bell Atlantic has entered into 300 agreements with over 100 carriers to connect its network with theirs. More agreements are on the way.
"Clearly, we've taken every step imaginable to bring competition into our local markets. We look forward to the day when we can introduce true competition into the long distance industry," said Goldberg.
The new Bell Atlantic -- formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX -- is at the forefront of the new communications, information and entertainment industry. With 40 million telephone access lines and 5.5 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 21 countries.