|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17, 2002
|For More Information, Please Contact:
Susan S. Miller, General Counsel
Verizon Obtains Authorization To Seek Long Distance Approval For Maryland
Baltimore, Md - On Monday, December 16th, the Maryland Public Service Commission issued a detailed letter authorizing Verizon to seek Federal Communication Commission approval to offer long distance service in Maryland subject to Verizon offering significantly reduced wholesale rates to its local service competitors.
The Commission believes that these reduced wholesale rates for unbundled network elements, as well as Verizon's agreement to several other conditions imposed by the Commission, will greatly improve both business and residential customers' ability to have a choice in their selection of local telephone service providers.
The State of Maryland's consideration of Verizon's long distance request was necessarily delayed until a similar proposal in Virginia worked its way through a two-year process and eventually received approval by the FCC. Verizon Virginia finally received approval from the FCC on October 30, 2002. The Maryland Commission held six days of evidentiary hearings in late October and early November on Verizon Maryland's request. Several thousand pages of testimony were entered into evidence. There were 1700 pages of transcripts, and several hundred pages of briefs were received on November 18. Immediately thereafter, the Maryland Commission worked diligently to move consideration of the Verizon Maryland proposal forward.
PSC Chairman Catherine I. Riley states, "While the Commission expedited its deliberations of this extremely complex and contentious proposal, nonetheless, we believe that in this decision we have achieved the appropriate balance of competing interests. Verizon will get the Commission's approval to go ahead in its pursuit of long distance service in Maryland, while the opportunities are enhanced for Maryland citizens and businesses to finally realize the benefits of local competition this Commission has pursued for over 8 years.
Today, Verizon Maryland has indicated its willingness to follow through on various commitments to enhance local competition. This will ensure that the best interests of Maryland citizens will be served."