October 13, 1998
|In re:||Application of BellSouth Corporation, BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc., and BellSouth Long Distance, Inc., for Provision of In-Region, InterLATA Services in Louisiana. Memorandum Opinion and Order. CC Docket No. 98-121.|
Today's Order sets out a clear road map for BOCs to receive approval to offer long distance service in their regions. I am pleased that the Order carefully and thoroughly addresses virtually all items on the 271 checklist. I hope BellSouth will use this Order as a blueprint for a future long distance application that I can support.
It should be evident from today's Order that most of our findings break no new ground. Instead, the Order relies primarily on earlier Commission pronouncements, all of which were available to BellSouth before it filed the current application. In that respect, it is disappointing that BellSouth elected to file another long distance application without heeding all of the specific guidance contained in our prior decisions, particularly the Orders responding to BellSouth's two previous 271 applications.
Nonetheless, I am pleased that BellSouth complies with six of the fourteen checklist items (plus two additional items that are acceptable but for OSS deficiencies). BellSouth has demonstrated a willingness to work with Commission staff informally and to open its markets in a number of respects. I also credit BellSouth with focusing attention on the emerging question of PCS as a competitor to wireline service. I expect we will hear more about that issue in future 271 applications.
Finally, I commend the staff of the Common Carrier Bureau for their thoughtful and tireless work in this proceeding. Their dedication to their work is essential to fulfilling Congress's vision of competitive local markets.