BACKGROUND - The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today recommended that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approve Verizon's application to offer long-distance service in Virginia. The 1996 Telecommunications Act requires the FCC to consider DOJ's evaluation before deciding on the company's request. Verizon filed the application with the FCC Aug. 1, and the commission must rule on it by Oct. 30. As a former regional Bell company, Verizon must get FCC approval before it can offer long distance in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states where it provides local phone service. The FCC has already granted Verizon permission to offer long distance in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and New Jersey. Verizon offers long-distance service in 44 states covering 80 percent of its local phone lines across the country. The following response should be attributed to Sarah Deutsch, vice president and associate general counsel for Verizon.
WASHINGTON - "The Department of Justice's thorough evaluation and positive recommendation of our long-distance application for Virginia confirms that the local telecommunications market in the commonwealth is fully and irreversibly open.
"With the DOJ's recommendation and the support of the Virginia State Corporation Commission, we are confident that the FCC will approve this long-distance application, bringing Virginians the benefits of full telecommunications competition that consumers in 44 other states enjoy today. And this moves Verizon closer to completing the 271 approval process in all of our Northeast and mid-Atlantic states."