Telecom Act is working well, Bell Atlantic says

October 08, 1997|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

WASHINGTON -- Last year's telecommunications law is working as planned to open up local telephone markets to competition in Bell Atlantic's region, Bell Atlantic Corp. President Raymond W. Smith said yesterday.

Those who disagree that markets are opening are "uninformed" or "purposely inaccurate," he said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute.

The claims of long-distance companies that Bell Atlantic and the other regional Bell telephone companies are dragging their heels to open up their markets to competitors, as required by the new law, "are meant to fog up our glasses and create a climate of dissension that gets in the way of progress," Smith said.

The truth is that Bell Atlantic has resold, mostly in New York City, more than 130,000 telephone lines and 30,000 pieces of its network to local phone competitors, he said.

The big three long-distance companies -- AT&T Corp., MCI Communications Corp. and Sprint Corp. -- have bought few of those lines, he said. Purchases have mostly been from small entrepreneurs such as Teleport Communications Group and Win- star Communications Inc., Smith said.

Of the more than 100,000 resold telephone lines in the state of New York today, Smith said, only 700 were bought by MCI. For example, USN Communications Inc. "processes more orders in one hour than AT&T has ordered since the Telecom Act was passed," Smith said.

"The truth is that the leading long-distance companies lack the will, the leadership and the strategy to compete in the local service market, and no amount of subsidized pricing schemes or other regulatory inducements will draw these reluctant gladiators into the ring," Smith said.

Pub Date: 10/08/97

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