MCI seeks state permission to compete locally with Bell

October 03, 1994|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,Sun Staff Writer

MCI Metro, a subsidiary of MCI Communications Corp., applied to the Maryland Public Service Commission today for permission to compete with Bell Atlantic Corp. in the local telephone market.

The Maryland filing was part of the first major offensive launched by the nation's second-largest long-distance company in its long-expected assault on the regional Bells' near-monopoly hold on the nation's local telephone business.

MCI also applied today to provide local phone service in four other states: Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan and Washington.

MCI said it is asking each state for authorization to offer both business and residential services.

The company said it was acting at the state level now because of the recent failure of a major telecommunications reform effort in Congress.

Gary M. Parsons, chief executive officer of MCI Metro in McLean, Va., said MCI chose the five states because they are among the most progressive in allowing competitors to challenge the Bell companies.

Maryland has already granted permission for MFS Communications Co. of Omaha, Neb., to compete with Philadelphia-based Bell Atlantic for business customers.

In May, Southwestern Bell Corp. initiated the first challenge by one regional Bell to another for local service when its SBC Media Ventures subsidiary asked the Public Service Commission (PSC) to let it compete for residential and business telephone customers in Montgomery County through its cable franchise there.

MCI is asking the PSC to guarantee that customers who want to switch carriers will be able to keep their phone numbers.

MCI also is asking that the Bells be required to interconnect their network with MCI's.

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