- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 14, 2002

Verizon Communications Inc. will file a request with Virginia regulators tomorrow seeking permission to market long-distance calling service.
Thomas Tauke, Verizon's top lobbyist, said the company will be able to show it has met the market-opening provisions in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, a regulatory hurdle it must meet before the Baby Bells can earn approval to sell long-distance service.
"I believe we've met the … requirements," Mr. Tauke said.
Verizon has quickly become the nation's fourth-leading long-distance provider since it first penetrated that market in January 2000, when it began marketing the service in New York. Verizon already has 8 million long-distance customers.
In New York, Verizon provides long-distance service to 2.3 million people.
"The Bells have a great degree of success penetrating the long-distance markets, and among the Bells, Verizon has the most momentum coming into this year," said Pat Brogans, a telecommunications analyst at Precursor Group, an investment research firm in the District.
Verizon also plans to file similar requests with state and local regu
Verizon markets local-calling service in 31 states and the District and has 61 million access lines.
Sometime after Verizon files for state approval to market long-distance service, the company will also file for approval with the Federal Communications Commission. Under the 1996 telecommunications law, the Bells must satisfy a 14-point checklist to show regulators their networks are open to competitive local-exchange carriers. Those carriers are likely to oppose Verizon's application.
"I haven't seen the filing, but based on what we know, we would oppose it. I can't imagine how the company would be able to comply with the 14-point checklist," said H. Russell Frisby, president of the Competitive Telecommunications Association.
A final decision on Verizon's application isn't likely for at least five months, Mr. Brogans said.


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