MCI to Delaware public service commission don't give Bell Atlantic a chance to compete

MCI doesn't believe in fair competition, according to company testimony at a Nov. 12 hearing of the Delaware Public Service Commission.

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MCI doesn't believe in fair competition, according to company testimony at a Nov. 12 hearing of the Delaware Public Service Commission. In fact, an MCI attorney told the commission that his company should get a head start in telecommunications markets before Bell Atlantic has a chance to compete in the long distance business.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 says that customers should be allowed to pre-select the company they want for their in-state toll carrier only when local telephone companies, like Bell Atlantic, are allowed to enter long distance markets. However, at the PSC hearing, MCI and AT&T argued they need "presubscription" now to compete in Delaware's local toll market - even though this market has been open to them for years.

MCI and AT&T claimed they couldn't compete with Bell Atlantic unless the commission gave customers the opportunity to pre-select a carrier for in-state toll calls, just as customers today select a long distance carrier.

Bell Atlantic agrees with the new federal Telecommunications Act. At the hearing, the company argued that the long distance carriers want presubscription implemented before Bell Atlantic can compete in the long distance market so they can gain a huge competitive advantage. The Delaware PSC debate on this issue prompted this exchange between PSC Vice Chairman Joshua W. Twilley and MCI attorney Jon Lipshultz:

VICE CHAIRMAN TWILLEY:  ...I mean you're actually asking us to give you an entry before they are able to receive approval for long distance. Aren't you? Isn't that what you're really asking for?
MR. LIPSHULTZ:   Yes. And we think that would be a benefit to consumers of this state.
VICE CHAIRMAN TWILLEY:   Don't you think we should give Bell Atlantic a chance to start on the same day you do?
MR. LIPSHULTZ:   No, we don't.

The Delaware PSC voted to begin presubscription by July 31, 1997.

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.

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