Bell Atlantic Network Services, Inc.
1717 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
215-963-6531 Fax 215-575-0961
Eric W. Rabe|
April 5, 1999
Did April Fools Day Come Early This Year?
"Straight Talk" From AT&T? Did April Fools Day Come Early This Year?
AT&T issued a news release on March 25, highlighting the "Straight Talk"
included in its 1998 annual report.
"Straight Talk" from AT&T? This is an annual report we have got to see.
Assuming that the annual report delivers as promised, here are a couple of
"Straight Facts" you should expect to see:
- On access charges...AT&T and other long distance companies have all
benefited from $11.8 billion in access charge cuts since 1991. While the
FCC expected to see these reductions translated into lower rates for
customers, most consumers are still waiting. Last year, FCC Chairman
William Kennard sent a letter to the big three long distance companies
citing a "growing body of evidence that the nation's largest long distance
companies are raising rates when their costs of providing service are
declining." Recently, the New York Public Service Commission recently
directed AT&T to reduce its rates in the state by an additional $14 million
because AT&T had not properly credited customers for the nearly $40 million
in total access charge reductions the company received in 1998.
- On pricing...while AT&T has been pocketing access charge reductions,
consumers - especially residential consumers - continue to pay the price.
AT&T has hit residential and small business customers with a "silence tax" -
assessing $60 a year to maintain the residence consumer account and $84 a
year to maintain the small business customer even if the customer does not
make a single toll call.
- On slamming...more than 70 percent of the consumer complaints in
Bell Atlantic's northeast and mid-Atlantic region are generated as a result
- On phony front groups...AT&T has established bogus "grassroots"
organizations across the country to help spread misinformation about the
telecommunications marketplace. AT&T's activities have been reported in
newspapers including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Recently, Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) warned other grassroots groups
of unethical tactics by the New Jersey Coalition for Local Telephone
Competition, an AT&T front group.
- On data...AT&T is now controlling the largest cable monopoly,
Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI), which has an extensive cable network
throughout the nation, and its network capacity to provide high-speed cable
access to the Internet. While AT&T preaches open markets in the local phone
market, the company is prohibiting Bell Atlantic and others from accessing
their network and competing in the Internet backbone market. AT&T has even
gone as far as refusing to accept Bell Atlantic advertisements for company
products over its cable network.
Instead of delivering "Straight Talk," AT&T is "Talking Out of Both Sides of
its Mouth" - misrepresenting the facts, the data and its commitment to
"Straight Talk" is what the current debate in telecommunications needs most
and what AT&T delivers least.
If you have any questions about Bell Atlantic's success in opening its local
markets to competition and serving all consumers, please e-mail me at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-963-6531.