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PSC Chairman Backs Bell Atlantic-NY Plans to Enter Long Distance
Company Moving Ahead With FCC Application to
Enter $7 Billion-Plus NY Long Distance Market
April 6, 1998
NEW YORK -- The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) chairman
today announced his support of Bell Atlantic-New York's plans to
further open local telephone markets in order to begin selling long
distance in the state. The endorsement requires that Bell Atlantic
meet a set of local competition conditions outlined in a framework the
company filed with the PSC today.
Bell Atlantic will now move to file an application with the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) by the fourth quarter, with the goal
of entering the New York long distance business by the end of 1998.
Today's endorsement follows more than a year of intensive work with
PSC staff, Bell Atlantic competitors and other groups through formal
hearings and collaborative sessions.
"In further opening the local telephone market under the framework we
submitted today, Bell Atlantic goes well beyond the requirements of
the Telecommunications Act or any federal court ruling," said Paul A.
Crotty, Bell Atlantic group president for New York and Connecticut.
"But we are willing to go this far in order to demonstrate our
commitment to local competition and to create a clear path to our
offering long distance service in this significant market."
PSC Chairman John O'Mara announced his conditional endorsement of the
Bell Atlantic plan today at an Albany news conference.
"This is a strong framework that balances the needs of Bell Atlantic
and its owners, the state of New York, and the state's businesses and
consumers," said Crotty. "No one can deny that local competition is
already thriving here and the PSC record developed during their review
proves that beyond a doubt."
Bell Atlantic made several groundbreaking commitments to further
encourage additional competition under the plan filed today.
Among these, Bell Atlantic-New York will offer discount packages of
recombined network elements to competitors wishing to provide basic
local service and high-speed ISDN service to businesses or consumers.
There will be no extra charge to competitors for this service in the
case of residential telephone lines and modest charges for business
lines. In densely populated areas of the state, Bell Atlantic will
make these packages available for re-sold business services at a
monthly charge of $6 per line plus the wholesale price for those
network services. The charge will be $2 per month in other areas of
These packages will be made available across New York except for parts
of New York City where local competition is already intense. The
discounted packages will be offered for four years in densely
populated areas of the state and for six years in other areas.
Bell Atlantic also agreed to additional third-party testing of its
electronic systems used by competing telephone companies to interface
with Bell Atlantic systems. Though these tests will require
additional engineering by Bell Atlantic, a specific set of
requirements is outlined in the plan, and the company believes that
the work and the test can be completed during the third quarter of
The multi-state region served by Bell Atlantic - especially New York -
is unique in terms of the level of competition already present, Crotty
Bell Atlantic began providing information to the PSC in late 1996 to
demonstrate it had met the 14-point local competition checklist
contained in the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. Since that
time, the company has continued to submit information and participate
in hearings and technical conferences during which the PSC,
competitors and many other parties to the proceeding reviewed the
information and made comments. The PSC's overall review focused on
what could be done to further open local markets in New York.
These steps announced today are an extension of what Bell Atlantic has
already accomplished in opening the local market in New York. Bell
Atlantic's systems are already used by competitors today to purchase
wholesale telecommunications products for re-sale. Currently, the
company processes up to 1,500 wholesale orders daily at its Manhattan
operations center. In addition, Bell Atlantic and its competitors
exchange over 900 million minutes of calls and data transmissions each
month in New York.
The New York long distance business is estimated to generate over $7
billion annually in voice traffic alone, making it the most important
long distance market in the country.
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.
for InterLATA Entry (pdf version)
New York Public Service Commission News Release