Originally created 02/15/02

BellSouth refiles with feds



ATLANTA - BellSouth Corp. renewed its push Thursday to offer long-distance service in Georgia and Louisiana, offering federal regulators a revised application the company hopes will satisfy regulatory concerns.

BellSouth, the dominant local phone provider in nine Southeastern states, withdrew its previous application with the Federal Communications Commission on Dec. 20 after officials warned it would be rejected.

The Department of Justice opposed the company's previous bid, citing shortcomings about how well the Atlanta-based telecommunications giant serves its local competitors, who resell parts of the company's network.

Local Bells are required to pass a checklist before they receive FCC approval, demonstrating they have opened up their local telephone market to competition and that they provide resellers of their networks the same level of service they offer their own retailers.

BellSouth is the third of four major regional Bell companies to seek permission to sell long-distance. Qwest Communications also plans to seek FCC approval for the 14 Western states it serves.

"We believe the information we are providing with this filing should give the FCC the additional information that it requested in these key areas," said Margaret Greene, BellSouth's president of regulatory and external affairs.

BellSouth officials say Thursday's filing is essentially the same as the application it submitted in October, with additional details about service issues and software improvements.

"We believe our first filing was a very strong filing," BellSouth spokesman Joe Chandler said.

The company has had three major software enhancements since Jan. 5 to improve the delivery of customer records to competitors in the local phone market and to reduce the number of errors in orders.

Regulators in both states have approved BellSouth's long-distance plan.

Public comments on the application are due within 20 days, while the Department of Justice has 35 days to offer its opinion. The FCC will issue its opinion within three months.