PSC Decision Wrong For Delaware
Bell Atlantic Appeals Ruling That Jeopardizes Future Investments in Telecommunications Network
WILMINGTON, Del. -- Bell Atlantic-Delaware today asked the U.S.
District Court for the District of Delaware to overturn a Public
Service Commission decision that will reduce incentives to invest in
Delaware's telecommunications network.
The company also said the order is unfair to Bell Atlantic because it
forces Bell Atlantic to subsidize its competitors in the local market.
At issue are the ground rules and rates under which Bell Atlantic will
make its telephone network available for use and resale by its
competitors. Bell Atlantic proposed reasonable rates that were rejected
by the PSC. The commission then set its own rates that are well below
costs the company will incur in providing its network to competitors.
"If this order stands, it will put Delaware's leadership in
telecommunications technology at risk," said Joshua W. Martin III,
president and CEO of Bell Atlantic-Delaware. "The rates approved by
the PSC are so low they will eliminate any incentive for Bell Atlantic
or its competitors to invest in Delaware's telephone network. This
would defeat one of the primary goals of the federal
Telecommunications Act of 1996.
"Bell Atlantic strongly supports local competition in Delaware,"
Martin said. "This appeal will not delay competition. Any company
that wishes to compete with Bell Atlantic in Delaware can purchase
Bell Atlantic facilities and services at rates approved by the PSC
until this case is resolved.
"However, the public interest is best served by rates that recognize
the realities of the marketplace, not rates that create an artificial
advantage for our competitors. Telecommunications giants such as
AT&T, MCI and Sprint do not need to be subsidized to compete in local
phone service in Delaware." he said.
Martin said the PSC decision is at odds with rates established in
neighboring states and the public policy consensus in Delaware, which
encourages investment in telecommunications technology.
"The legislature and Governor Carper recognize that Delaware's economy
is linked to the future of telecommunications," Martin said. "By
adopting rates that discourage progress, regulators are out of step
with the vision of Delaware's elected officials."
The new Bell Atlantic (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, information and entertainment industry. With 40
million telephone access lines and 5.5 million wireless customers
worldwide, the corporation -- formed through the merger of Bell
Atlantic and NYNEX -- is the premier provider of advanced wireline
voice and data services in the eastern United States and a market
leader in wireless services. Bell Atlantic also is the world's
largest provider of directory information and one of the world's
largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with
operations and investments in 21 countries.