Long-Distance Firms Seek Easier Local Access

Four long-distance phone companies filed a petition with California regulators urging the state Public Utilities Commission to simplify the way residents access rival carriers for local toll calls. Under the current system, competitors can vie for local toll business, but the caller must dial a seven-digit code to access a rival's network instead of Pacific Bell's. GTE already provides that access. The long-distance companies, including AT&T; Corp., MCI Communications, Sprint and CalTel, want regulators to order Pacific Bell to clear the way for customers to designate their toll-call carrier, much like they do now for long-distance service. That change--sometimes called "1+" dialing--would allow callers to make toll calls with a designated carrier without dialing a special code first. The companies said more than two dozen other states already offer the choice for consumers, and they want the PUC to set a Feb. 8, 1999, deadline for PacBell to give California customers equal access to rival toll-call carriers.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World