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AT&T DEFINES EFFECTIVE COMPETITION IN LOCAL PHONE SERVICE

 WASHINGTON, Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T today for the first time made public its views on how lawmakers and regulators might decide whether there is effective competition in the delivery of local communications services to consumers and businesses.
 AT&T said local markets could be considered fully competitive when at least 75 percent of customers can get local telephone service from two or more providers, and when at least 30 percent of the customers have chosen a company other than the Bell Company for local service. Once these conditions are met, current restrictions that keep the Bell companies from offering long distance service could be dropped, AT&T said.
 The Senate Communications Subcommittee is considering a bill by Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and John Danforth (R-Mo.) to accelerate competition in the local telephone and cable television markets. At a hearing last month, AT&T and Bell company executives were urged by the senators to define what might constitute full and effective competition in the delivery of local communications service.
 The extent to which there is such competition becomes a major factor as those who shape public policy examine whether to allow the Bell companies to provide long distance service and manufacture telecommunications equipment. The Bell companies are now prohibited from those activities by the consent decree that settled the federal government's antitrust suit against AT&T and the former Bell system in l982.
 AT&T also recommended to the senate panel that a seven-year waiting period be established to allow local competition to develop while the Bell companies continue to open their local markets to competitors.
 AT&T also proposed that the Federal Communications Commission have the authority to ensure that the local Bell company would do nothing to impede long distance competition in any area where it was determined that "effective competition" exists in local service delivery.
 "The question of what constitutes effective competition in the local exchange, and thus offers consumers the widest possible choice in local telephone service, is a critical element in the Congress' consideration of communications policies that will move the country forward," John D. Zeglis, AT&T senior vice president, said. He added:
 "This matter involves the vital interests of those consumers who now depend almost exclusively on the Bell companies for local service. It is equally important to AT&T and its customers because AT&T relies on local exchange companies for over 99 percent of the connections to its subscribers, and because 45 cents of every dollar in long distance revenues is paid to the Bell companies for access to their local networks. If local competition develops, access costs would come down and customer choice would increase. That would benefit the public and the industry.
 "We think our recommended provisions will advance the nation's telecommunications infrastructure, and we look forward to working with the senators and members of Congress on this important matter of national policy."
 -0- 10/26/93
 /CONTACT: Herb Linnen, 202-457-3933, or home, 202-333-9l61, or James P. McGann, 202-457-3942, or home, 301-585-5519, both of AT&T/
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CO: AT&T ST: District of Columbia IN: TLS SU:

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 26, 1993
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