Bell Atlantic Clears Hurdle

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Washington -- A federal court here last Tuesday refused
AT&T Corp.'s request that it block Bell Atlantic Corp.'s entry into the
long-distance market in New York state.

Bell Atlantic won authorization from a unanimous Federal
Communications Commission Dec. 22, becoming the first Baby Bell to re-enter that market
since the breakup of AT&T in 1984.

"I'm pleased that the court has denied
AT&T's motion for a stay and allowed the FCC's authorization of Bell
Atlantic entry into long distance to take effect. This is good news for consumers. As I
have said repeatedly, it's time for the industry to take their battles out of the
courtroom and into the competitive marketplace," FCC chairman William Kennard said in
a prepared statement.

AT&T said it would continue to fight the FCC's
action, even though it was denied a stay. Digital-subscriber-line provider Covad
Communications Group Inc. joined AT&T in its request.

"Although we recognized from the beginning that stay
requests are seldom granted, we pursued that option, given the importance of the issues to
consumers and competition. We will continue to pursue our concerns, and we are glad that
the court expedited the appeal so that these issues can be addressed promptly,"
AT&T spokesman Jim McGann said in a prepared statement

In addressing the stay request, a three-judge panel of the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said AT&T and Covad had
failed to satisfy "the stringent standards required for a stay pending appeal."

The court said it would hear oral arguments "on the
first available date" after completion of the briefing schedule March 22.