The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) has rejected a request from Bell Atlantic-Virginia, Inc., a telecommunications local exchange carrier (LEC), to reclassify intraLATA message toll service (MTS) as competitive under its new alternative regulation plan. It said, however, that competition for wide-area telephone service (WATS) and 800 service effectively regulated their price and that a competitive classification was now appropriate.
The SCC found that the ability of the LEC to provide MTS service with 1+ dialing while access to the same service provided by interexchange carriers (IXCs) requires customers to dial an extra five digits "represents a barrier to competition . . . serving as an effective regulator of prices." Nevertheless, the PSC noted that the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires companies like Bell to provide toll dialing parity in order to compete with the IXCs in the interLATA market, and that Bell "has a strong incentive" to move into the interLATA market. Re Bell Atlantic-Virginia, Inc., Case No. PUC950067, Mar. 13, 1996 (Va.S.C.C.).
In a separate order, the SCC ruled that its ban on geographic deaveraging of prices for services provided by AT&T, an IXC, applied only to interLATA services; hence, the carrier is permitted to offer a different intraLATA toll schedule for each LEC's service territory. Re AT&T Communications of Virginia, Inc., Case No. PUC960010, Mar. 21, 1996 (Va.S.C.C.).
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