Separate Statement of
Commissioner James H. Quello
Re: In re The Applications of NYNEX Corporation and Bell Atlantic Corporation, for
Consent to Transfer Control of NYNEX Corporation and its Subsidiaries,
Memorandum Opinion and Order
August 14, 1997
The Bell Atlantic-NYNEX Merger Order takes two important steps: It sets
out a comprehensive framework for the Commission to review future
telecommunications mergers, and it imposes conditions that will protect consumers
in the Bell Atlantic-NYNEX region by improving the opportunity for competitors to
enter those markets. Although I would have preferred to conclude our review of
this merger more promptly, I support today's action by the Commission.
First, the Bell Atlantic-NYNEX Merger Order represents new thinking in how
the FCC will evaluate telecommunications mergers. The competitive analysis in this
Order is guided by the traditional antitrust principles that the government has used
to evaluate whether particular mergers would tend to enhance or diminish
competition. The Order builds upon these principles by recognizing that only
recently have some of the country's best potential competitors, such as Bell
Atlantic and NYNEX, been allowed to compete outside of their own territories. I
am optimistic that the principles established in this Order will permit the
Commission to protect consumers in newly-deregulated markets.
Second, the narrowly-tailored, pro-competitive conditions contained in this
Order underscore the Commission's unique role in reviewing telecommunications
mergers pursuant to the public interest test in the Communications Act. During the
past 18 months, the Commission has gained valuable insight and expertise in local
competition matters by implementing the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Our
ability to impose market-opening conditions in this Order is due in large measure to
our ongoing experience with local competition issues.
I have long supported the principle that regulators should provide guidance to the industries we regulate whenever possible. I believe that today's Order provides such guidance without prejudging any future transactions that might come before the Commission. I am also confident that the conditions we impose on this merger will result in lower prices and increased choice for local telephone customers in the Bell Atlantic/NYNEX region.