[ Text Version | WordPerfect Version ]

fcclogo NEWS

Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

September 28, 1998


In the 1996 Act, Congress said that the Bell Operating Companies are not permitted to offer long distance service to their local customers until they have opened their local markets to competition. Entry into the long distance market is the incentive that Congress used to encourage the Bells to open their local markets. As long as the Bell Companies keep their local networks closed and thus remain the sole source for local service, it makes no sense to reward them by allowing them to become the sole source for a combined package of local and long distance as well.

We can't trade the short term convenience of one-stop shopping for long-term monopolies. That wouldn't be right for consumers and it's not what the law requires.

It's important to note that our ruling does not prohibit consumers from getting the same long distance rates from Qwest that the Bells sought to offer under the business arrangements in question. Consumers can get the same deal directly from Qwest.

Now we all need to focus on opening the local markets so that we can bring the full benefits of fair competition to all consumers in the manner Congress intended.

- FCC -