Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 26, 2002 · Page 3
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 3

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Indiana, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Saturday, October 26, 2002
Page:
Page 3
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,3notann (iasetre STATE Saturday, October 26, 2002 — Page 3 State regulators order Verizon to recalculate wholesale rates HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) —Verizon, the state's dominant local telephone provider, has been ordered by Pennsylvania regulators to recalculate the wholesale rates it charges competitors to use its statewide network, ; The Public Utility Commission's order Thursday, however, was not a final decision on whether Verizon should lower or raise its wholesale ; rates. If Verizon's rates go low enough, AT&T has said it would enter Pennsylvania to offer competitive local telephone service to residential customers in Pennsylvania. Verizon must file the revised rates within a month, based on a complex set of rules for recalculating both recurring and nonrecurring costs. The PUC's order sends the case back to an administrative law judge, who will establish a process to allow Verizon and its competitors to challenge the accuracy and validity of the new rates. "This is an important and chal- lenging case," said Commissioner Terrance Fitzpatrick, whose motion was unanimously approved by the commission. "But we're not quite there yet." None of the telephone companies were happy with PUC's decision. Verizon contends that the state-regulated rates it charges are already below the cost of providing the network infrastructure. "This regulatory extortion essentially pads the pockets of companies such as AT&T whose business plans center on freeloading on Veri- zon's network while avoiding any investment in Pennsylvania's telecommunications infrastructure," said Ronald F. Weigel, director of government relations for Veri- zon's Pennsylvania division. AT&T wants to be able to lease a "local loop" — the piece of the phone system that connects a customer with the local phone company's switching office — for about $5 per customer per month. AT&T says this would allow it to offer residen- BELIEVE IT OR NOT THIS IS Regulators to discuss ! VALEI 21 AZ °R phone fees By AMY FRANKLIN BAILEY Associated Press Writer LANSING, Mich. — Utility regulators from six states will meet with federal officials next week in Michigan in an effort to keep control over how much telephone providers can charge to use their phone lines. State regulators from Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Georgia are scheduled to meet Monday in Dearborn with officials from the Federal Communications Commission. State officials set the meeting as the FCC revises its standards for unbundled network elements, pieces of the local telephone network large providers must make available to their competitors. The FCC's revision is part of its three-year review. But the agency has more work this year because a federal appeals court recently ruled that the FCC's 1999 rules were invalid. Although the FCC ended its comment period for the new rules this summer, the agency will consider the comments from Monday's meeting, an FCC spokesman said. The meeting demonstrates the prominent role Michigan plays in the debate over pricing unbundled network elements, said Dave Waymire, a spokesman for the Michigan Competitive Telecommunications Providers Association, a Lansing-based group of long-distance phone companies. "The Michigan Public Service Commission has been a leader in convincing the FCC to continue allowing states to set wholesale rates," Waymire said, referring to the price providers can charge competitors to lease their networks. Michigan was one of the first states to set wholesale rates at a price providers considered too low, said Bob Nelson, one of the state's three public service commissioners. "Ameritech has alleged that we're forcing them to lose revenues," he said. "We wanted to get states' views on the table." The Michigan Public Service Commission recently denied a request by SBC Ameritech to raise the price from $14.44 to $34 a month a competitor, such as AT&T, pays a month per phone line. Although regulators denied the request, they said they would continue looking into the issue. A telephone company pays Ameritech $14.44 a month to use a line but Ameritech provides the maintenance, spending $27 a month to maintain a telephone line. WHEN YOU SEE HER TODAY WISH HER A HAPPY 40™ BIRTHDAY Lave: Keith, Kacle, Logan & Your Family V MOHAWK FLOORSCAPES' THE FLOORSCAPES ENVIRONMENT • EASY TO SHOP • EASY TO CHOOSE • EASY TO BUY SPECIAL FINANCING AVAILABLE Your Mohawk Fioorscapes retailer has made it easy for you to buy new flooring for your home. Our different shopping environments allow you to make the best and most informative selection for your home. Affordable Interiors 1515 PHILADELPHIA STREET INDIANA, PA 15701 TELEPHONE (724) 349-8821 1-800-878-8821 Beautifying Indiana County Homes Since 1984 Through Hard Work and Dedication M. W 8-8; Tue, Th. Fri 8-6; Sat 9-2 90 DAYS SAME AS CASH COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL INSTALLATION FOR KITCHEN * BATH €£>' % Itfgs i "wsir; -ORDER NOW FOR HOLIDAY DELIVERY- *^* M)D£. Amish Owned And. Operated t- WE SPECIALIZE IN HAND-CRAFTED WITH PRIDE !! IJSOUD OAK & CHERRY FURNISHINGS & ACCESSORIES BEAUTIFUL FURNISHINGS for HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING Beautiful Selection of •TABLES & CHAIRS •DRY SINKS-HUTCHES •SERVERS -CURIOS and MANY ACCESSORIES .SU Financing Available Quality Doesn't CostJt Pays!" Open: i Monday|: Saturday y 9am-6pm i CLOSED SUNDAY I DEUVERY --•' AVAJWElfl 412-549-1906 • ROUEB119K OF1 tial customers an alternative to local phone service from Verizon. Michael Schweder, president of AT&T-Pennsylvania, said the company had hoped for a final decision so that it could announce its entry into the state's local telephone service market. "We had hoped 5t would be resolved today in a way that would allow us to come into the market," he said. Other companies, including MCI WorldCom, serve the residential market, but complain that Verizon's pricing and business practices make it difficult for them. "The commission's decision today will harm consumers by further delaying the establishment of cost- based wholesale rates in Pennsylvania. This delay only serves to protect Verizon's monopoly in Pennsylvania," MCI spokesman Tim Guillen said. (On the Net: Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission: httptllpuc. paonllne.com/) Rendell continues torrid pace By MARC LEVY Associated Press Writer HARRISBURG — Former Philadelphia Mayor Edward G. RendeU continued his torrid fund-raising pace in the gubernatorial race, outpacing his Republican opponent, Mike Fisher, by more than four times over the past month as the candidates head into the final two weeks of the campaign. Rendell, a Democrat, raised more than $9 million beginning Sept. 17 through Monday, far more than the $2.2 million that Fisher, the state's two-term attorney general, raised during the same period, according to campaign-finance reports filed Friday. The tally brings Rendeil's total fund-raising for the Democratic primary and general election to about $37.2 million, about half of which he spent during his successful May primary campaign against state Auditor General Robert E Casey Jr. Fisher's total came to about $13.3 million "We are in a very strong position heading into the final days of the fall campaign," Rendeil's campaign manager, David Sweet, said in a statement. Fisher, who was unopposed in the Republican primary, has said he would need to raise $15 million to win the Nov. 5 general election. "Our fund raising has gone extremely well," said Kevin Harley, Fisher's spokesman. "We have met all our targets, and continue to do so." Rendell has raised $18.3 million since the May primaries — more than twice as much as Fisher took in during the same period. Rendell had about $4 million on hand ais of the Oct. 21 closeout of their latest reports, while Fisher had $1.4 million. Rendell reported expenditures of $8.9 million for the period, nearly $7.9 million of which went to the campaign's media consultant. Fisher spent $5 million, $4.4 million of which went to the campaign's media consultant. In addition to his cash contributions, Rendeli has borrowed $500,000 — including $300,000 in the past month — from Steve Frobouck of Pittsburgh, president of the Anderson Group, a Pittsburgh company that builds towers for cellular telephones, and $100,000 from Philadelphia Mayor John Street's po- litical-action committee. Fisher reported no outstanding loans. Both candidates received their biggest cash donations from political-action committees. Rendell received $357,000 from the Democratic Governors Association; $320,000 from the Laborers' Political League of Washington, D.C.; $255,000 from a Democratic congressional political-action committee; and $250,000 from the political- action committee for the state's largest teachers' union. Even Philadelphia state Sen. Vincent Fumo, who supported Rendeil's opponent in the Democratic primary, gave $100,000 through his political-action committee. The national Republican Party gave Fisher $300,000, and after that, the drop-off was steep, to $60,000 from the PA Future Fund, a Republican political-action group, and $52,000 from the union representing 55,000 state workers. Meanwhile, at least 15 donors gave $75,000 or more to Rendell. The largest individual contributions were $80,000 from Andre V. Duggin, chairman of A.V. Consultants of Wayne, Pa. LAST DAY SUNDAY! 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