Smoke Screen of the Day
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For More Information, contact Eric Rabe at Bell Atlantic 215-963-6531
or Maureen Flanagan at Bell Atlantic at 212-395-3519.
"Dedicated to truth, justice, and the disclosure of
outrageous claims regarding competition in the local phone markets"
Bell Atlantic-New Jersey is expected to file a competition status report with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities on Tuesday, March 3, 1998. We are happy to provide our updated report on competition in our local telephone markets and are pleased with the results.
However, despite the signs evidenced throughout the marketplace that competition is real and growing, some companies, including AT&T and MCI, continue to spread misinformation about Bell Atlantic's commitment to opening its local markets to competition. Even more troubling than this campaign of misinformation is that the same companies with the greatest resources with which to enter the local phone market appear to be the most reluctant to do so. Further, when they have entered the local market, it is largely to go after more lucrative business customers -- even though Bell Atlantic has opened both its local business and residential markets to competition.
In anticipation of more smoke - disinformation and unfounded claims - being spread by these companies following the release of our competition filing, Bell Atlantic wants to clear the air on our commitment to opening the local market to competition and reiterate our achievements to date.
The following are claims that have been made on a regular basis by the big long distance carriers.
CLAIM: There is a lack of competition in the New Jersey local phone market.
FACT: If there is a lack of competition in New Jersey, why have AT&T, MCI and Sprint spent millions to advertise the fact they are offering local service? AT&T actively markets local service to business customers through print and television advertisements. The company spent almost $425 million in 1996 on advertising that reached the New Jersey market, with $44 million targeted to specific markets in New Jersey. More than $284 million of MCI's $304 million 1996 advertising budget reached markets inside New Jersey, with $8 million targeted specifically to New Jersey markets. Sprint spent more than $171 million on advertising that reached the New Jersey market during 1996, $11 million was specifically targeted to New Jersey markets.
New Jersey is open for business - competition in this market is real and it is growing. Bell Atlantic has 48 interconnection agreements with competitors in New Jersey and more than 400 interconnection agreements with competitors throughout its markets. Companies, including AT&T, MCI and smaller companies such as XCOM Telephony, can offer local service in New Jersey. In fact, 26 companies have applied to offer local phone service in Bell Atlantic's New Jersey market.
CLAIM: Bell Atlantic is not fulfilling its commitment to open local markets to competition.
FACT: Bell Atlantic is not only fulfilling its commitment to open local markets to competition, the company is exceeding it.
Bell Atlantic is spending more than $1 billion to ready its market for competition and has dedicated 1,000 employees to opening local markets to competition.
In addition, Bell Atlantic has a unique set of commitments with the FCC to hold itself to a higher standard than other companies.
These commitments include:
Bell Atlantic was the first local carrier in the nation to offer permanent local number portability service (LNP) and recently, AT&T and MCI signed up to use long-term LNP. LNP allows customers to change their local phone company without changing their phone number. Bell Atlantic will offer 90 percent of New Jersey residents permanent LNP by the end of 1998. The remaining 10 percent will receive LNP upon request. This provides dramatic evidence of our commitment to opening our local markets to competitors.
In the New Jersey region, Bell Atlantic has:
Further, 65 million minutes of conversation, data and faxes passed between Bell Atlantic-New Jersey and our region competitors in 1997.
Clearly, Bell Atlantic is dedicated to opening its local markets to competition.
CLAIM: Bell Atlantic is not doing all it can to open local markets to competition, and as a result, it is difficult to compete with Bell Atlantic in New Jersey.
FACT: Wrong. Bell Atlantic is doing all it can to open its local markets and many competitors are taking advantage of the opportunity.
CLAIM: There is no economic incentive for companies to compete in the local market.
FACT: Not true. In 1996, telecommunications service revenue in New Jersey generated $7.2 billion.
AT&T and MCI have the same economic incentives to compete for local service in New Jersey as Teleport and the dozens of other companies that are certified as competitive local exchange carriers.
The Bell Atlantic Commitment to Competition
Bell Atlantic continues to dedicate vast resources to open local markets.
Dozens of companies are successfully doing business in local phone markets.
BELL ATLANTIC'S LOCAL MARKETS ARE
IRREVERSIBLY OPEN TO COMPETITION
The Smoke Detector from Bell Atlantic is designed to give you early warning anytime "smoke" shows up in the advertisements, press releases, public statements or reports, issued by public interest groups or the long distance companies who claim that local competition does not exist.