The seven regional Bell operating companies have formed a coalition (em the Alliance for Competitive Communications (em to spearhead their efforts to reform the nation's telecommunications laws. The group's central goal is to eliminate barriers to competition among local telephone, long-distance, and cable television companies by:
s Encouraging competition in all markets
s Protecting universal service
s Opening markets to all competitors at once
s Ensuring that all competitors in each market are regulated similarly.
Former United States Telephone Association chairman Gary W. McBee will head the group and coordinate the effort to build a broad-based coalition of communications providers and consumers. "We can't meet the bipartisan goal of building an information superhighway that will serve everyone until we achieve real regulatory reform," McBee said. "The Communications Act is more than 60 years old, and the court decree that broke up the Bell system is in its second decade. It has little relevance to today's markets and today's consumers."