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September 28, 1998

Separate Statement
Commissioner Susan Ness

Re: Ameritech's and U S WEST's Business Arrangements with Qwest

I firmly believe that consumers whose local telephone service is provided by a Bell company will benefit greatly when that company can offer them an array of services like those at issue here. One-stop shopping, a single point of contact for service problems or billing inquiries, the ability to obtain any service from any supplier, low prices -- these are all good things. But the way to get there is by following the law.

Section 271 of the Communications Act specifies the steps the Bell companies must follow before they may provide long distance services. Their primary responsibility is to open their local markets. The sooner they demonstrate that they have done so, the sooner they may bring consumers beneficial packages of local, long distance, and other services.