Just Who Is the Bully and Who Is Struggling in a Changing Telecommunications Industry?

In the June 15 story, "Bully on the Line?," The Times reported that those opposing changes in the way Pacific Bell is regulated "argue that relaxing oversight of Pacific Bell and GTE would free them to bully struggling young entrants to the fast evolving telecommunications industry.

Struggling young entrants? Are you referring to Amvox? In a recent news release, Amvox described itself as "one of the largest nationwide voice messaging companies in the country, operating over 100 local messaging centers throughout the country and providing service for over 100,000 mailboxes in more than 2,400 communities." Doesn't sound "struggling" to me.

Or do you mean the cable television industry, which has raised the rates on its unregulated monopolies an average of 31% nationally over the past three years? Which is commanding record prices for its properties? Which has caused customers and city officials around the country to plead with Congress to reregulate the industry?

Unlike most of our competitors, Pacific Bell is not deregulated and is not seeking deregulation. We propose continued regulation by the California Public Utilities Commission, with no loss of its power to set rates, oversee financial performance, approve services or investigate operations. Some of our critics enjoy monopoly status with no such regulation.

We have learned a great deal about competition recently. We've watched other companies, not regulated by the PUC, skim the cream off our business by charging less for services than we are allowed to charge, and by offering services in ways we are not permitted to. I don't recall them complaining about "unfair competition" when it worked to their advantage.


San Francisco

The writer is vice president of corporate communications for Pacific Bell.

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