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June 30, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:30pm

US REGIONAL COMPANIES STRUGGLE TO ENTER LONG-DISTANCE MARKET

By CBR Staff Writer

The US telecoms market has a way to go before the regional Bell operating companies RBOCS gain access to the $80bn long-distance phone business. The Federal Communications Commission has rejected SBC Communications Inc’s bid to enter the market. Now Ameritech Corp’s attempt looks likely to go the same way following the Justice Department’s recommendation to the FCC that the company’s Michigan market is not sufficiently open to competitors. According to the FCC, the San Antonio, Texas-based SBC Communications had failed to demonstrate that there is a competing provider of telephone service to both residential and business subscribers. Although the Justice Department noted that Ameritech has made important progress in opening its local phone network in Michigan – it was not enough. Last month, the department urged the FCC to reject SBC Communications Inc’s application to offer long-distance service in Oklahoma. In particular, it said Ameritech had not met two checklist requirements: one allowing competitors to direct the routing of calls and another relating to the way in which the local loop carried local calls. The department also detailed shortcomings relating to the leasing of Ameritech’s local phone network. Ameritech asked the FCC on May 21 for permission to offer a long- distance service in Michigan, one of the five mid-western states in which the company provides local calls. The FCC is scheduled to make a final decision by August 19. Earlier this year, Ameritech was forced to withdraw its long-distance application because of numerous errors. The company said it would continue to work with the Department of Justice, the Michigan Public Service Commission and FCC to achieve the intent of the Telecom Act and bring the benefits of competition to consumers.

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