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MCI Says BellSouth Blocking Entry

April 23, 1998

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ MCI accused BellSouth Thursday of obstructing MCI’s entry into the local calling market in North Carolina by not providing MCI with access to critical information. MCI asked state regulators to intervene.

In a 12-point enforcement filing with the North Carolina Utilities Commission, MCI claims BellSouth is violating both the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 and MCI’s interconnection contract with BellSouth.

The filing asks the commission to order BellSouth to come into compliance within 30 days.

``BellSouth’s `strategic incompetence’ is a calculated attempt to give local phone competition a bad name. MCI is not going to stand aside and let that happen,″ said Butch Aggen, MCI regional marketing director of local services.

Clifton Metcalf, a BellSouth spokesman in Charlotte, N.C., said BellSouth is abiding by its agreement with MCI, and the company would dispute the MCI complaint. He described it as ``simply another example of MCI’s strategy of posturing and delaying.″

Michael Schwarzwalder, MCI regional director of competition policy, said the Washington, D.C-based communications company has tried to resolve the problem directly with BellSouth, to no avail.

MCI launched local service to mid- and large-size businesses a year ago in Raleigh. Since then, MCI alleges, BellSouth has not provided the access to its operations support systems that the law requires.

The systems include all computerized and automated systems that enable new competitors to order and install service for customers, to share billing and maintenance information and handle customer repair requests.

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