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Verizon Communications, which last year became the first Bell company to offer long-distance to its local customers in New York, now is seeking federal permission to do the same in Massachusetts.

Born of the summer marriage between Bell Atlantic and GTE Corp., Verizon is the nation's leading local phone and wireless provider. On Friday, it asked the Federal Communications Commission to let it offer long-distance to its local Massachusetts customers.

By law, Bell companies cannot enter the lucrative long-distance business within their region until they have demonstrated that their local phone markets are open to competition. That process requires Verizon to show compliance with an extensive checklist, ensuring that rival local phone companies can lease lines to offer competing service or switch over customers.

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