Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

48 Federal Communications Law Journal 105 (1995)


Although AT&T relinquished control of its local exchange carriers (LECs) in 1983, competition in the local telecommunications market has not flourished. Instead, Bell Operating Companies (BOCs) still retain the bulk of the market share for local exchange services, and most customers cannot access alternative local exchange service providers. In the long-distance market, however, increased competition has provided customers with better services at lower costs. In order to reproduce the notable consumer advantages found in the long-distance market, consumers must have consistent, convenient access to a multiplicity of alternative service providers.

The Author examines barriers surrounding the lack of competition in the local markets and offers several proposals. Above all, the Author argues that any effort to promote local competition must bar BOCs from entry into the interstate Local Transport Access Areas (LATAs) until effective, facilities-based local competition exists and minimum safeguards protecting local competition are in place. The Author suggests several safeguards. First, alternative local service providers must be able to offer discounts to customers for switching service providers and allow customers to retain their existing phone numbers after they change service providers. Second, access charges, which currently subsidize incumbent service providers, must be replaced with cost-based prices and a universal fund. Third, new entrants to a local market must be able to interconnect with other local service providers at nondiscriminatory rates. Finally, the Author concludes with a discussion about jurisdictional considerations and the interplay between federal and state local competition policies.