Verizon Gains Long Distance in Mass.

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Verizon Communications won permission from federal regulators Monday to
provide long-distance phone service to consumers in Massachusetts, the fifth
state to see entry from a Baby Bell in the past 16 months.

The Federal Communications Commission, in a 3-1 vote, ruled that Verizon met
the market-opening 14-point competitive checklist in the Telecommunications Act
of 1996.

The agency's two Republicans -- chairman Michael Powell and commissioner
Harold Furchtgott-Roth -- joined with Democratic FCC member Susan Ness to
provide the majority. Democratic commissioner Gloria Tristani voted to deny the
application, saying that Verizon's switching rates paid by competitors was not
consistent with FCC pricing rules.

In December 1999, Verizon became the first Baby Bell to re-enter the
long-distance market when the FCC approved the company's application in New

Until passage of the 1996 law, the Bells had been barred from the long
distance market since 1984, when AT&T Corp. agreed to split into a
long-distance unit and seven regional local phone companies.

The FCC has also approved SBC Communications Inc. offering long distance in
Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma.