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Long Distance Hearings End; Six Days of Testimony Shows Corporate Change of Philosophy.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 11, 1997--BellSouth says the six day hearing into its long distance entry in Florida has proven that the company has moved aggressively to open the local telephone market to competition.

The testimony before the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) focused on BellSouth's efforts to fulfill 14 requirements to open the local telephone market to competition. According to federal law, once they have satisfied the check list, local Bell telephone companies will be allowed to compete in the long distance market.

"I'm optimistic of the outcome," said BellSouth president-Florida, Joseph Lacher. "Our witnesses did a terrific job of showing commissioners the corporate commitment BellSouth has made to opening the local market to competition."

"Once the PSC has had a chance to weigh all the evidence I am confident they will reach the same conclusion and support our entry into long distance," said Lacher.

During the hearing BellSouth conducted a live demonstration of BellSouth's operations support systems showing the PSC the different databases it has devised for use by local competitors.

"We had a chance to show our operating systems that provide parity for new competitors in the marketplace. This demonstration let commissioners see for themselves that the complaints of the long distance companies are just a self serving attempt to protect their markets. We eagerly look forward to the chance to offer our customers a better choice for long distance service," said Lacher.

CONTACT: BellSouth Corporate & External Affairs, Miami

Spero C. Canton, 305/347-5455
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 11, 1997
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