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AT&T CHAIRMAN URGES CONGRESS TO PASS LEGISLATION TO REAFFIRM NATIONAL COMPETITIVE POLICY IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS

AT&T CHAIRMAN URGES CONGRESS TO PASS LEGISLATION TO REAFFIRM NATIONAL
 COMPETITIVE POLICY IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS
 WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The chairman of AT&T today urged Congress for the first time to enact into law principles of a 1982 court-approved agreement between AT&T and the Department of Justice that broke up the old Bell System.
 Robert E. Allen told a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, "it has come to a point where I believe the Congress needs to reaffirm national competitive policy in telecommunications." He said AT&T would support comprehensive legislation to codify the terms of the agreement. That agreement, overseen by U.S. District Judge Harold Greene, prohibits the Bell Companies from providing long distance service, manufacturing equipment, or providing information services.
 Allen said the Bell System break-up, initiated by the Department of Justice in 1974, in the past decade has stimulated industry competition, lowered long distance prices, spurred the introduction of new technology and given consumers and businesses wide choices. In the past AT&T has urged that no action by Congress was needed as proposals have been made to change the conditions of the break-up agreement.
 Allen said, however, that "the thickets of regulatory, legislative and legal wrangling that had choked off and prevented competition" before the break-up are reappearing.
 "The reason is the telephone companies have been gnawing at the restrictions -- a piece here and a piece there -- even though the foundation stone of the antitrust agreement has not moved an inch: the local monopoly is still there in full force.
 "... And more surprising, the Justice Department has lost its memory -- and I think its compass -- and done a '180' on the fundamental issues. As a result we are headed in the wrong direction: right back where we were. This will reverse the progress we have made and set us back as a competitive nation."
 Allen said the current situation before the Congress could have been averted "had the government held true to the antitrust principles of the decree, and had the regional Bell companies respected the terms of the decree, rather than trying to subvert them. But that's wishful thinking."
 He said AT&T would support legislation "that would enact the competitive principle of the decree and continue its injunctions" so long as the regional Bell companies retain their local monopolies.
 -0- 2/19/92
 /CONTACT: Herb Linnen, 202-457-3933 or, after hours, 202-333-9162, or Jim McGann, 202-457-3942 or, after hours, 301-585-5519, both of AT&T/
 (T) CO: AT&T ST: District of Columbia IN: TLS SU: LEG


TW -- DC004 -- 0329 02/19/92 10:06 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 19, 1992
Words:432
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