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New Jersey Regulators Clear Path To Real Long Distance Competition
New Rates Open Local Telephone Markets to More Competitors
July 17, 1997
NEWARK, N.J. -- Bell Atlantic's push to provide real long distance
choices for New Jersey's residents advanced another step today as the
Board of Public Utilities (BPU) cleared the way for competitors to
provide local service using Bell Atlantic's local network.
The BPU today set the rates competitors will pay to use parts of the
Bell Atlantic network to provide local telephone service.
Bell Atlantic-New Jersey President and CEO Len J. Lauer expressed
disappointment that the BPU set those rates below the company's costs
to serve competitors. The board set the monthly rate for access to
Bell Atlantic's local loop at $16.21 per month. It costs Bell
Atlantic $22.63 to provide that service.
"Today's decision was absurdly unfair," Lauer said. "We already
subsidize our customers' rates for basic local telephone service -
rates that already are among the lowest in the nation. Now, the board
wants us to subsidize our competitors. Will they make our competitors
subsidize our entry into long distance?"
But Lauer also noted that the board's action solidifies Bell
Atlantic's ability to seek approval to provide long distance service
to New Jersey customers. He said he expected Bell Atlantic to recover
in the long distance market what it expects to lose as a result of
"It's time to finish the job," Lauer said. "The local telephone
market is open to competition. New Jersey customers are entitled to
as many long distance choices as they are local choices."
New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the nation, supports a
robust telecommunications industry - local, long distance and wireless
- that generates $7.5 billion in annual revenue to a number of
Bell Atlantic has shown a sustained commitment to making New Jersey's
local telecommunications market accessible to competitors.
Since the signing of the landmark federal Telecommunications Act, 62
carriers have asked Bell Atlantic-New Jersey to enter into local
interconnection negotiations. The company has reached agreements
with 21 of those carriers.
Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company's telephone company subsidiaries are
the premier providers 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.