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October 6, 2000

Separate Statement
Commissioner Susan Ness

Re: AT&T Corp., v. New York Telephone Company, d/b/a Bell Atlantic -New York

Although I support todayís decision based on our rules, I am troubled by Verizonís marketing practices in New York. When a customer calls a local carrier to establish service on the primary line, the carrier must tell the customer that he or she has a choice of long-distance providers. Yet, when many customers call Verizon to order additional lines, it does not inform those consumers of their right to use a long-distance carrier other than Verizon.

In passing the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress sought to promote competition in all telecommunications markets. Consumers will only reap the benefits of competition if they have the information to choose the provider that best meets their needs.

The contours of the equal access and nondiscrimination requirements in section 251(g) were set at a time when Bell companies, such as Verizon, were the monopoly provider of local services and were prohibited from offering long-distance services. This complaint demonstrates the need to revisit those rules in light of changes in the marketplace. As companies enter markets from which they were previously barred, we should consider the equal access and nondiscrimination obligations that make sense in this new competitive era. I urge the Commission to undertake such a proceeding.