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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- In a two-page letter, Verizon today accepted the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's (PUC's) April 11 order that allows
Verizon to continue to operate in Pennsylvania as one company.
"The commission made the right call in its order -- avoiding an unwarranted split of Verizon that would have added much cost and confusion to the already
complex telecommunications market," said Daniel J. Whelan, president of Verizon Pennsylvania. "Hopefully, resolution of this issue will help move
the telecom battle from the hearing room to the marketplace."
In the company's letter to the commission, Verizon stressed that it accepts the commission's terms and conditions based on the order as written.
"Verizon's reading of the order is very different from the interpretation advanced in AT&T's April 18 petition to the PUC, where it tries to get the
commission to impose in effect exactly what AT&T wanted in the first place -- full structural separation of Verizon," said Whelan.
For example, AT&T's petition calls for "integrated Operations Support System (OSS) treatment of Verizon's competitors and Verizon's retail
"AT&T's interpretation is completely contrary to the commission's April 11 order," Verizon said in its letter. "The cost of creating this
'integrated OSS' is, in fact, the bulk of cost of the full structural separation proposal rejected by the commission.
"AT&T continues to practice its favorite kind of competition -- in the hearing room," said Whelan. "AT&T couldn't even wait until
Verizon responded to the commission's order before it ran to the PUC with another frivolous filing."
Whelan said the facts disprove AT&T's various protests and allegations about local competition in Pennsylvania. Competitors serve nearly 900,000 local
lines, and an average of more than 40,000 residential customers switch their local phone service from Verizon to a competitor each month.
"In addition, the computer systems competitors use to switch customers' local service from Verizon are working well," said Whelan. "Simply
put: Pennsylvania's local phone market is wide open.
"It's more evident every day that AT&T's motive is all about delay -- keeping Verizon tied up in a regulatory morass while AT&T protects its
still-substantial long-distance revenues in Pennsylvania," said Whelan. "This maneuvering benefits only AT&T, while Pennsylvanians miss out on
the additional choices and savings of full telecommunications competition.
"But that's changing. AT&T is facing full competition now from former Bell companies in five states where they offer long distance, and Verizon is
getting closer to the day when Pennsylvanians will have another choice for all their telecom needs," said Whelan. "That will be the day AT&T
will have to quit complaining and start competing."
In accepting the PUC's order, Verizon today also withdrew its appeal of the commission's September 1999 "Global Telecommunications Order" to
U.S. District Court. The company also notified the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that it no longer is seeking review of any portions of the Global Order except
those pertaining to structural separation.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of
wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with nearly 109 million access line equivalents and more than 27.5 million wireless customers. Verizon
is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $63 billion in annual revenues,
Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.