WASHINGTON - Consumers in the Nation's Capital are a major step closer to enjoying full telecommunications competition.
Verizon today notified the District of Columbia Public Service Commission (PSC) that the company plans to file an application later this year with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to offer long-distance service in Washington, D.C.
Saying that the local phone market is obviously and irreversibly open to competition, Verizon is taking the next step in its bid to offer long-distance service to consumers and businesses in the District.
Verizon is seeking the PSC's support of the company's upcoming long-distance application with the FCC, which ultimately has the authority to allow Verizon to offer long-distance service in the District.
The FCC has 90 days to review Verizon's long-distance bid once the company files its application with the federal agency. The PSC and the U.S. Department of Justice will provide their consultations to the FCC before it makes a decision.
"It's time for Washingtonians to reap the benefits of full telecommunications competition that consumers elsewhere are enjoying today," said Marie C. Johns, president of Verizon Washington, D.C. "District consumers should be able to realize savings similar to those available today in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and New Jersey."
Verizon now offers long-distance service in 44 states and to 80 percent of its local phone customers across the country.
"We've worked very hard over the past few years to reach this point, and we look forward to proving our readiness to the commission," said Johns.
Consumers are saving as much as $1.8 billion annually from local and long-distance competition associated with Verizon's entry into long-distance markets, according to studies analyzed by Verizon. The savings are based on projections from a variety of independent economists and consumer watchdog groups.
The research shows that after Verizon's entry into long distance, both local and long-distance competitors work harder to gain and keep customers.
"This always works to customers' advantage," Johns said. "As Verizon is permitted to enter more long-distance markets, that will bring the benefits of long-distance competition to more consumers, and the roughly $1.8 billion in savings for consumers can be expected to grow substantially."
Today's filing with the PSC provides extensive detail showing that Verizon Washington, D.C. has met a 14-point competitive checklist specified in the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. This checklist stipulates the criteria former Bell companies must satisfy to demonstrate they have opened their local networks to competitors. Meeting this checklist is a prerequisite for Verizon to receive federal permission to offer long-distance service in Washington.
- Competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) provide at least 199,000 local phone lines to businesses and consumers throughout Washington. Competitors provide local service over their own facilities and over facilities leased from Verizon.
- CLEC customers account for more than 44,000 listings in the white pages of Verizon's Washington, D.C., directory.
- More than 130 CLECs are certified to provide local phone service in Washington. Approximately 40 of those companies actively compete in the city at this time.
- Verizon has approximately 150 existing, in-service collocation arrangements to serve competitors throughout the District.
- Verizon and CLECs exchanged more than 2.3 billion minutes of local calls over their networks in the first four months of 2002, an average of 570 million minutes per month. That represents a 40-percent increase in the average minutes per month from 2001.
The filing provides ample evidence that local telecommunications competition is present and growing in the District:
During the coming weeks, the PSC will review the entire body of evidence from Verizon, its competitors and other parties. "When the PSC completes its exhaustive examination of the record, we're confident it will support our long-distance application to the FCC," Johns said.
Verizon has moved aggressively to bring full telecom competition to its entire service area. Since December 1999, Verizon has received FCC approval to offer long-distance service in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine and New Jersey. The company currently has long-distance applications for Delaware and New Hampshire pending at the FCC, and rulings are expected in late September.
In addition to today's filing with the District's PSC, Verizon has asked state regulatory commissions in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia to support its long-distance filings in those states. The company plans to file federal applications later this year for permission to offer long-distance service in these remaining jurisdictions.
Verizon is the country's fourth-largest long-distance company, with more than 8.2 million long-distance customers.
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 133.8 million access line equivalents and approximately 29.6 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and nearly 248,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.