FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 1996size = +1>
BOARD OF PUBLIC UTILITIES SETS TIMETABLE
FOR LOCAL-TOLL COMPETITION
Decision Expected To Hasten
Bell Atlantic's Entry Into Long Distance
NEWARK, N.J. -- Competition in all of New Jersey's
markets moved one step closer to reality today as the Board of Public
Utilities certified five companies' applications to offer local
service in New Jersey. The board also announced rules that expand
local toll competition.
The board certified MFS, Eastern Telelogic, Teleport, MCI Metro and
AT&T to offer local telephone service in the state. These five
companies will be able to complete calls to all customers after they
conclude negotiations with applicable telecommunications providers --
which should put them in the local-exchange business no later than the
end of this year.
Colleen McCloskey, Bell Atlantic-New Jersey's Vice President for
Regulatory Affairs, welcomed the rulings.
"The sooner we're able to open local markets, the sooner we'll be
to offer long distance to New Jersey customers," McCloskey said.
"We're absolutely determined to see that both markets become
competitive as soon as possible."
McCloskey said she expected Bell Atlantic to offer long-distance
service in New Jersey as soon as it has complied with all items
outlined in a competitive checklist contained in the federal
That list includes a requirement that Bell Atlantic give local service
competitors access to the local telephone network in New Jersey.
On the matter of local-toll (or intra-LATA) markets, the board ordered
Bell Atlantic to alter its network switches by the second quarter of
1997 so that New Jersey consumers may buy local-toll service from Bell
Atlantic's competitors without using access codes.
Bell Atlantic had hoped that the board would allow local toll markets
to open in New Jersey at the same time Bell Atlantic was allowed to
offer long-distance service.
But McCloskey said that although the board did not make local toll
competition contingent on Bell Atlantic's entry into the long-distance
market, "we're still going to make simultaneous opening of the
"We expect to be in the long distance business in New Jersey by the
time local toll markets open, which we anticipate will be no later
than the second quarter of 1997," McCloskey said. "And we'll
that timetable regardless of hurdles AT&T and others may throw in our
"The Telecommunications Act is clear that all markets -- local and
long-distance -- are to be opened quickly. The FCC is publicly
committed to making this happen, and so are we," she said.
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.