Mark Phigler may have intended to criticize Pacific Bell ["PacBell Should Give Before It Gets," Letters, April 12], but his broadside actually hits hardest at the long-distance providers that finance Phigler's Americans for Competitive Telecommunications.
The telecom industry has experienced explosive growth in everything from basic phone service to fax machines, pagers, Internet and wireless. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 intended to benefit consumers by stimulating local and long-distance competition, and the California Public Utilities Commission has authorized nearly 150 companies to compete against Pacific Bell.
MediaOne recently announced plans to offer local service to 254,000 Los Angeles-area customers by the end of the year. By 1997, we had spent more than $550 million to open the local market and have assigned thousands of our employees to process orders from customers who choose to migrate to our competitors.
Competition is the name of the game, and Pacific Bell is ready to play. We have done everything the federal law requires for us to be allowed to offer long-distance service. We expect the CPUC to grade us well according to the 14-point checklist, even if our competitors refuse to accept our challenge and meet us in the marketplace.
Pacific Bell isn't asking for any favors or special treatment. We believe consumers should be free to decide, based on price, quality, reliability and simplicity, which company they want serving them. It's time for the public to receive the full benefits of competition. The only people who could be upset by that are our competitors--or their front groups.
CARMEN P. NAVA
President, Los Angeles Region