The Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has issued a preliminary order allowing Sprint Communications to enter the local-exchange market without committing to a lengthy plan to build a telecommunications network. The decision marks a victory for the three largest long-distance providers, precluded by 1995 state legislation from reselling the services of existing local exchange carriers.
The decision reflects the PUC's finding that 1) the build-out requirement would be preempted by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, or 2) Southwestern Bell would meet Federal Communications Commission criteria to become a long-distance carrier in Texas, rendering the build-out plan unnecessary for competitors. Further, the PUC concluded that the six-year build-out plan, called "PURA," could deter companies from entering the Texas network, especially since they could simply wait until the build-out period ends. (em LB t
Joseph F. Schuler is an associate editor, and Lori A. Burkhart an associate legal editor, of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.