Pennsylvania PUC Adopts Competitive Rules

Posted: 10/1999

Regulatory News

Pennsylvania PUC Adopts Competitive Rules
By Kim Sunderland

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has adopted new rules aimed at
promoting local exchange competition, but Bell Atlantic-Pennsylvania has railed against
the decision and plans a court appeal.

In a split decision, the PUC voted to accept a decision in its "global
settlement" proceeding that, among other things, requires Bell Atlantic to separate
its wholesale and retail operations, and establishes a process for how Bell Atlantic
obtains interLATA (local access and transport area) service approval under Section 271 of
the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The commission weighed two proposals: one from Bell
Atlantic, its competitors and 32 other local telephone companies; the other from a group
of competitors led by long distance giants AT&T Corp. and MCI WorldCom Inc.

"This decision runs counter to the movement of public policy in telecommunications
across the country," says Ivan Seidenberg, Bell Atlantic’s chairman and CEO.
"With the PUC’s action, Pennsylvania stands out as a state where telecommunications
is intensely regulated, a state that is hostile to business."

Pennsylvania regulators, however, say their decision "finally" gives
consumers greater opportunities to save money on their long distance and local phone
bills, and will allow them to take advantage of advanced telecom services.
"Pennsylvanians win under the rules we’ve passed," says PUC Chairman John M.
Quain. "Local phone competition has been an unfulfilled promise for too long."

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