SBC Updates Long Distance Plans

GRAND RAPIDS — SBC Communications is moving closer to bringing full telephone competition, including long distance service, to Michigan.

Earlier this month the company updated its compliance plan with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and last week it reviewed an updated report by Ernst & Young LLP on the status of the corrective actions taken by SBC.

“We have made tremendous progress in resolving issues identified by E&Y,” said Gail Torreano, president of SBC in Michigan.

“E&Y’s previous report found that 98.7 percent of our transactions they tested were completed without error. Further, in the remaining 1.26 percent, most of the items have already been or will soon be corrected.”

E&Y’s report validates the integrity and calculations made by SBC. In it’s Oct. 18 report, E&Y concluded that in all material aspects SBC has sufficient controls in place and follows the business rules in calculating the results.

The purpose of the latest report was to monitor the status of the corrective actions taken by SBC to address the issues identified in the Oct. 18 E&Y report on the integrity and calculations of SBC’s performance measurements.

The report found that 98.7 percent of transactions tested were completed without error. It also indicated that SBC corrected and implemented 113 of the 130 items.

Of the remaining 17 issues, corrective actions are scheduled, but not expected to change.

“We are pleased with this positive report,” said Torreano. “We have made tremendous progress in resolving issues identified by E&Y and this report proves that. This is an important step forward in the process to bring benefits of long distance entry to Michigan consumers. Competition definitely exists in the local market and it is time for more competition in the long distance market.”

Torreano said competitors already are taking notice.

“Some of our competitors are doing everything they can to create roadblocks in the process and deny Michigan customers full telecommunications choice.

“We’re sure the MPSC understands the game they’re playing and we’re equally sure that we’ll see more rhetoric from our competitors as we get closer to long distance approval. It’s unfortunate Michigan has to endure this gamesmanship.”

The same tactics have been used in the 23 other states where the local Bell company has been allowed to offer long distance.

“Unfortunately, it serves our competitors’ interest to delay our entry into long distance. Michigan consumers don’t deserve these desperate tactics by companies trying to hold on to their long distance market share. Michigan consumers deserve more choice in long distance providers,” said Torreano.

SBC in Michigan processes more than 35,000 pre-order transactions and handles more than 14,000 actual orders per day from its competitors.

The company is hopeful that the MPSC will approve its application in the near future. SBC would then submit an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). With FCC approval, the company could provide long distance service to Michigan customers in the spring.           

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