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Local Phone Competition Takes Hold in New Jersey
Bell Atlantic - New Jersey Opens Market to All New Entrants
March 3, 1998
and growing, according to a filing today by Bell Atlantic - New Jersey
with the state's Board of Public Utilities (BPU).
Bell Atlantic - New Jersey has 48 interconnection agreements with
competitors, including AT&T and MCI, and 27 companies have applied to
offer local phone service in the state. The BPU is assembling data on
Bell Atlantic's actions to open its local market to competition and on
the services offered by competitors in preparation for hearings on the
subject later this month.
"Bell Atlantic is committed to opening its local markets to
competition and is dedicating the necessary resources to ensure that
we exceed the requirements of the Telecommunications Act," said
Colleen McCloskey, Bell Atlantic - New Jersey vice president - Public
Policy. "As a result, competition is taking hold in New Jersey and
those competitors who want to compete can do it right now."
The filing shows that competition is well underway, with companies
like AT&T and MCI offering business customers local phone services
packaged with their traditional long distance fare. The filing also
lists Bell Atlantic - New Jersey's actions to open the local market to
According to the filing, Bell Atlantic has:
- resold more than 7,000 lines to competitors, most of which are for
- more than 14,000 interconnection trunks in operation;
- nearly 80 collocation arrangements in operation or being implemented
at our switching sites;
- 365 exchange codes assigned for use by our competitors, which
translates to almost
4 million telephone numbers, and
- in addition, 65 million minutes of conversation, data and faxes
Bell Atlantic - New Jersey and its in-region competitors in 1997.
"Bell Atlantic is taking all the necessary steps to open our networks
in New Jersey and throughout our region to stimulate competition and
advance our goal of providing long distance service," said McCloskey.
"Before Bell Atlantic is allowed to enter the long distance market,
the company must demonstrate that it has opened its local markets to
competition and met the 14-point checklist detailed in the Telecommunications
Act of 1996.
"Bell Atlantic is committed to becoming a full service provider, able
to offer all of our customers the benefits of choice, increased
competition and the convenience of one-stop shopping," she said.
"Right now, Bell Atlantic is the only telecommunications firm in New
Jersey not allowed to offer consumers a full range of communications
services. We are eager to change that so we can enter this new market
and compete on a level playing field."
From Maine to Virginia, Bell Atlantic is spending $1 billion to open
its local markets to competition and dedicating 1,000 employees to
that effort. In New Jersey alone, the evidence of the company's
commitment is significant.
- Bell Atlantic was the first local carrier in the nation to offer
permanent local number portability service (LNP), which allows
customers to change their local phone company without changing their
phone number. Bell Atlantic - New Jersey will implement LNP in about
90 percent of its New Jersey service territory by the end of 1998.
- Bell Atlantic has built the Telecommunications Industry Service
Operations Center in Newark to process local service requests from
competitors. The center has 72 employees, 63 of whom are service
representatives specially trained to handle the needs of competitors.
- Bell Atlantic also has built a full service maintenance center in
Bridgewater, staffed with 77 employees. The center is equipped to
handle trouble reports on all types of resale services and unbundled
Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX -
is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With 40.5 million telephone access lines and six 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.