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Local Phone Market Highly Competitive

November 08, 1998

A letter from Candace Brodie of Citizens United for Lower Telecom Rates ["Time for Action From PacBell," Letters, Oct. 11] claimed Pacific Bell is setting up roadblocks to stop competitors from offering local phone service. The facts tell a completely different story. The California Public Utilities Commission has authorized more than 150 telecommunications companies to provide telephone service across the state.

It isn't surprising that the general public isn't aware of these competitors: They're only interested in serving the highly profitable business customers. In fact, AT&T recently imposed a $3 monthly minimum on customers who don't make "enough" long-distance calls.

Pacific Bell, on the other hand, serves consumers across the economic spectrum, including those who are hardest to reach. We will invest $2 billion this year to strengthen our network against future storms like El Nino and to incorporate the newest technology.

Who benefits by misrepresenting California's highly competitive local phone market? AT&T, MCI-Worldcom and the long-distance cartel. Consumers understand that Pacific Bell has nothing to gain--but much to lose--by blocking local competition if that would prevent us from entering the most lucrative segment of the telecommunications industry: long-distance.

I agree that this is a time for action! The longer the long-distance giants refuse to meet Pacific Bell in the marketplace, the longer consumers have to wait for the benefits of competition. That's why I call on the PUC to approve our entry into long-distance, so we can begin providing Californians with lower prices, greater choices and higher-quality services.

CARMEN P. NAVA

Regional president

Pacific Bell

Los Angeles

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