Bell Atlantic today filed for permisson to offer long-distance service in New York state.
If the Federal Communications Commission grants approval, Bell Atlantic would become the first Baby Bell to offer long-distance service to it local phone customers. The FCC has rejected such requests from other Bells Bells.
But Bell Atlantic Chairman and Chief Executive Ivan Seidenberg was optimistic. "We've met the requirements of the Telecommunications Act," he said. "We have earned the opportunity to add long-distance to our suite of services, and our customers demand nothing less."
Bell Atlantic said its filing with the FCC includes detailed information on the steps it has taken to open its local phone business in New York to competition, a requirement under the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
Major long-distance companies such as MCI WorldCom and upstarts that want to provide local phone service are watching to make sure that Bell Atlantic holds up its end of the bargain.
"We have supplied over a million lines to our competitors," said Bell Atlantic's New York group president, Paul Crotty. "That's more than enough demonstration that the market is irreversibly open to local competition."
Bell Atlantic already has presented its case to the state Public Service Commission, which can express its opinion. The FCC also must give substantial weight to an evaluation by the Justice Department. The FCC has 90 days filing to make its decision.
Durables orders up 0.9% in August
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods unexpectedly rose 0.9 percent in August, led by an increase in demand for airplanes, automobiles and other transportation equipment.
The Commerce Department reported today that orders for durable goods -- items expected to last at least three years -- grew last month to a seasonally adjusted $206.9 billion.
August's performance -- the 12th increase in the last 15 months -- was better than many analysts had expected. They were forecasting orders would fall by 0.9 percent.
Despite the strong report, many analysts don't expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates for a third time this year when it meets next week.
Judge extends Northeast dairy pact
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- A federal judge granted an injunction Tuesday that will extend the life of the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact, a controversial method by which farmers' incomes are stabilized by increasing the price of milk.
U.S. District Judge William Sessions III postponed the implementation of a new federal dairy pricing system to allow time to hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by four northeastern dairy cooperatives seeking to block the system.
A hearing on the lawsuit is expected to be held within 30 days.
SEC takes action in accounting fraud
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Securities and Exchange Commission announced enforcement actions Tuesday against 68 people and companies, including Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton, for alleged accounting fraud, such as creating phony invoices and inflating earnings.
Tarkenton, the former head of a computer software company, agreed to settle by paying a $100,000 fine without admitting or denying wrongdoing, the SEC said.
The SEC called the nationwide series of civil fraud actions its first "coordinated assault on financial reporting misdeeds." The actions include a total of $630,000 in fines which defendants have agreed to pay in settlements with the SEC. The agency also is seeking a total of some $9 million in restitution and wants to bar 10 of the individuals involved from serving as officers or directors of publicly traded companies.
In other business news
Filene's Basement Corp. announced it will close 17 more stores as part of its plan to emerge from bankruptcy. Approximately 400 full-time employees may lose their jobs.
Euro Disney plans to build a second theme park next to its Disneyland Paris park site to give visitors a backstage look at the movies. Euro Disney said it expects an estimated 4.2 million visitors annually once "Les studios Disney" (The Disney Studios) is fully operational in 2003.
Ralston Purina Co. is selling its line of Energizer rechargeable batteries to Moltech Corp. of Tucson, Ariz. It allows Ralston to focus on its regular Energizer brand batteries, which face tough competition from arch-rival Duracell.