Bell Atlantic, WinStar agree on interconnection terms
Pacts cover Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
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ARLINGTON, Va. - Bell Atlantic announced today comprehensive interconnection agreements with WinStar Communications, Inc. The pacts are the seventh in a series of Bell Atlantic interconnection agreements, most of which cover multiple jurisdictions.
The agreements with WinStar provide for interconnection of the two companies' facilities in New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. The companies signed a similar agreement covering Bell Atlantic-Pennsylvania last week. WinStar, a New York-based company, provides local telecommunications services over microwave, using the 38 gigahertz frequency band.
The WinStar agreements are further evidence that, contrary to the claims of some long distance companies, Bell Atlantic is continuing to negotiate and implement comprehensive interconnection agreements with competing local carriers. "We hope to sign additional agreements with others in the near term. Local competition is expanding and we're on our way to offering long distance service," said Bell Atlantic Vice Chairman James G. Cullen.
Today's agreements, like the earlier ones, meet the 14-point checklist of the Telecommunications Act. The agreements bring Bell Atlantic a significant step closer to offering a full package of local and long distance services to its customers. The company expects to seek authority to provide long distance service in its region by the middle of next year.
Since passage of the telecommunications legislation early this year, Bell Atlantic operating companies have also forged agreements with Commonwealth Communications, Inc., , Commonwealth Long Distance, Eastern TeleLogic, Jones Telecommunications, MFS Communications, and Residential Communications Network. Negotiations continue with a number of other facilities-based and resale-based competing local carriers.
The agreements cover the comprehensive interconnection arrangements that Bell Atlantic and WinStar will use to interconnect their networks and exchange traffic. Among other items, the agreements call for:
- reciprocal per-minute charges of $.003-.005 for the completion of local calls originated by the other company's customers (NOTE: This charge will not be applied in the District of Columbia unless or until an imbalance exists in traffic between the two competing companies);
- access to pieces of Bell Atlantic's network ("unbundled network elements") to WinStar at cost-based rates, and
- the ability for customers to switch from one company to another without having to change telephone numbers.
Bell Atlantic and WinStar will file the agreements with the appropriate state commissions for approval. Decisions are expected within the next two to three months. Meanwhile, both companies will begin implementation activities immediately.
Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new communications, entertainment and information industry. In the mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing high-growth national and international business opportunities in all phases of the industry.