Text Version

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.