BellSouth is Ready to Offer Long Distance Service; NCUC Action Expected This Summer

Apr 12, 2001, 01:00 ET from BellSouth

    RALEIGH, N.C., April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Fulfilling a long-standing promise
 to its customers, BellSouth is asking the North Carolina Utilities Commission
 (NCUC) to concur that the company is ready to provide global long distance
 service.
     "For three years, we have compiled data the Commission requested we
 provide," said Krista Tillman, President-North Carolina.  "We wanted to be
 absolutely sure BellSouth has met all requirements before refiling our long
 distance request.  Today, we are sure.  The time has come for North
 Carolinians to reap the full promise of the Telecommunications Act."
     After gaining the NCUC's endorsement, BellSouth will then seek permission
 from the Federal Communications Commission to enter the long-distance market.
     "Considering the importance of this issue to telephone customers
 throughout North Carolina, and the extensive work the Commission has already
 done, I believe they will clear us to go to the FCC within a few months,"
 Tillman said.  "Customers are telling us they want BellSouth to be in the long
 distance market this year and I am confident we will meet that objective."
     Competition continues to grow in every segment of the local
 telecommunications market.  Currently, some 60 Competing Local Providers, or
 CLPs, operate in North Carolina, with approximately 100 others authorized to
 do so by the NCUC.  It is estimated that they serve more than 265,000 customer
 lines.  Among all local providers, only BellSouth is prohibited from offering
 its customers long distance as well as local service.
     "The significance of BellSouth's entry into the long-distance market, for
 consumers and for North Carolina, cannot be overstated," said Tillman.  "Not
 only will it stimulate economic growth and increase local competition, but it
 will bring financial benefits to customers.  Experience in other states where
 the local Bell company has been permitted to enter the long distance market
 demonstrates that customers have enjoyed significant savings and innovative
 service offerings."
     The Telecommunications Act of 1996 states that a Bell company, such as
 BellSouth, will be allowed into the long distance market when it meets a 14-
 point competitive checklist.
     In early 1998, the NCUC determined that BellSouth had satisfied 12 of the
 14 checklist items, but that additional data was needed on two items:
 
     * Equal, nondiscriminatory local interconnection -- specifically
       collocation, which requires BellSouth to allow competitors to locate
       equipment in BellSouth's central offices, and
     * Operational Support Systems (OSS), which are BellSouth's computer-based
       systems and databases that provide local competitors with the functions
       they need to compete with BellSouth.
 
     Of the CLPs operating in the state, 40 have chosen to collocate in more
 than half of BellSouth's central offices, which serve more than 85% of
 BellSouth's customers.  Nearly 700 collocations have been completed.
     Regarding the OSS data, an independent third party, KPMG Consulting,
 recently completed two years of testing under the direction of the Georgia
 Public Service Commission.  This analysis determined that BellSouth's regional
 systems functioned appropriately and met nearly 100% of the tests of nearly
 1,200 different OSS functions.  These OSS systems support local competition
 across BellSouth's nine-state region, including North Carolina.
     "There is no doubt in my mind that BellSouth has met each and every item
 on the 14-point checklist," Tillman said.  "We've invested more than
 $1 billion in our OSS systems, allowed competitors non-discriminatory access
 to our databases, and committed significant corporate resources to meet the
 law's requirements.  Facilitating local competition is an ongoing philosophy
 and BellSouth has made the necessary corporate changes to treat our
 competitors like the valued customers they are."
     For more information about BellSouth's long distance initiative and its
 North Carolina operations, visit us on the web at
 http://bellsouthcorp.policy.net/newsroom/nc.
 
     About BellSouth Corporation
     BellSouth Corporation (NYSE:   BLS) is a Fortune 100 communications services
 company headquartered in Atlanta, GA, serving more than 44 million customers
 in the United States and 16 other countries.
     Consistently recognized for customer satisfaction, BellSouth provides a
 full array of broadband data and e-commerce solutions to business customers,
 including Web hosting and other Internet services.  In the residential market,
 BellSouth offers DSL high-speed Internet access, advanced voice features and
 other services.  BellSouth also provides online and directory advertising
 services, including BellSouth(R) Real Pages(SM).com.
     BellSouth owns 40 percent of Cingular Wireless, the nation's second
 largest wireless company, which provides innovative wireless data and voice
 services.
 
 

SOURCE BellSouth
    RALEIGH, N.C., April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Fulfilling a long-standing promise
 to its customers, BellSouth is asking the North Carolina Utilities Commission
 (NCUC) to concur that the company is ready to provide global long distance
 service.
     "For three years, we have compiled data the Commission requested we
 provide," said Krista Tillman, President-North Carolina.  "We wanted to be
 absolutely sure BellSouth has met all requirements before refiling our long
 distance request.  Today, we are sure.  The time has come for North
 Carolinians to reap the full promise of the Telecommunications Act."
     After gaining the NCUC's endorsement, BellSouth will then seek permission
 from the Federal Communications Commission to enter the long-distance market.
     "Considering the importance of this issue to telephone customers
 throughout North Carolina, and the extensive work the Commission has already
 done, I believe they will clear us to go to the FCC within a few months,"
 Tillman said.  "Customers are telling us they want BellSouth to be in the long
 distance market this year and I am confident we will meet that objective."
     Competition continues to grow in every segment of the local
 telecommunications market.  Currently, some 60 Competing Local Providers, or
 CLPs, operate in North Carolina, with approximately 100 others authorized to
 do so by the NCUC.  It is estimated that they serve more than 265,000 customer
 lines.  Among all local providers, only BellSouth is prohibited from offering
 its customers long distance as well as local service.
     "The significance of BellSouth's entry into the long-distance market, for
 consumers and for North Carolina, cannot be overstated," said Tillman.  "Not
 only will it stimulate economic growth and increase local competition, but it
 will bring financial benefits to customers.  Experience in other states where
 the local Bell company has been permitted to enter the long distance market
 demonstrates that customers have enjoyed significant savings and innovative
 service offerings."
     The Telecommunications Act of 1996 states that a Bell company, such as
 BellSouth, will be allowed into the long distance market when it meets a 14-
 point competitive checklist.
     In early 1998, the NCUC determined that BellSouth had satisfied 12 of the
 14 checklist items, but that additional data was needed on two items:
 
     * Equal, nondiscriminatory local interconnection -- specifically
       collocation, which requires BellSouth to allow competitors to locate
       equipment in BellSouth's central offices, and
     * Operational Support Systems (OSS), which are BellSouth's computer-based
       systems and databases that provide local competitors with the functions
       they need to compete with BellSouth.
 
     Of the CLPs operating in the state, 40 have chosen to collocate in more
 than half of BellSouth's central offices, which serve more than 85% of
 BellSouth's customers.  Nearly 700 collocations have been completed.
     Regarding the OSS data, an independent third party, KPMG Consulting,
 recently completed two years of testing under the direction of the Georgia
 Public Service Commission.  This analysis determined that BellSouth's regional
 systems functioned appropriately and met nearly 100% of the tests of nearly
 1,200 different OSS functions.  These OSS systems support local competition
 across BellSouth's nine-state region, including North Carolina.
     "There is no doubt in my mind that BellSouth has met each and every item
 on the 14-point checklist," Tillman said.  "We've invested more than
 $1 billion in our OSS systems, allowed competitors non-discriminatory access
 to our databases, and committed significant corporate resources to meet the
 law's requirements.  Facilitating local competition is an ongoing philosophy
 and BellSouth has made the necessary corporate changes to treat our
 competitors like the valued customers they are."
     For more information about BellSouth's long distance initiative and its
 North Carolina operations, visit us on the web at
 http://bellsouthcorp.policy.net/newsroom/nc.
 
     About BellSouth Corporation
     BellSouth Corporation (NYSE:   BLS) is a Fortune 100 communications services
 company headquartered in Atlanta, GA, serving more than 44 million customers
 in the United States and 16 other countries.
     Consistently recognized for customer satisfaction, BellSouth provides a
 full array of broadband data and e-commerce solutions to business customers,
 including Web hosting and other Internet services.  In the residential market,
 BellSouth offers DSL high-speed Internet access, advanced voice features and
 other services.  BellSouth also provides online and directory advertising
 services, including BellSouth(R) Real Pages(SM).com.
     BellSouth owns 40 percent of Cingular Wireless, the nation's second
 largest wireless company, which provides innovative wireless data and voice
 services.
 
 SOURCE  BellSouth