DE 97-171
                               BELL ATLANTIC
      Petition for Approval of Statement of Generally Available Terms
              Order Granting Motion for Proprietary Treatment
                         O R D E R   N O.  22,851
                       February 17, 1998
                                       On January 15, 1998, New England Telephone and
     Telegraph Company (Bell Atlantic) filed with the Commission a
     Motion for Protective Treatment of certain Data Responses
     provided in answer to Data Requests from AT&T and the Commission
     Staff (Staff).  Bell Atlantic sought concurrence from AT&T, the
     Office of the Consumer Advocate (OCA), and Staff.  The OCA and
     Staff took no position on the issue and AT&T did not respond.
         Bell Atlantic specifically requests protective
     treatment of its Data Responses to AT&T Data Requests numbered 3-14(d), 3-48, 3-85(c), 4-8 and 4-16 and Staff Data Request
     numbered 1-5.  These Data Responses (hereinafter referred to as
     Specified Data Responses), Bell Atlantic asserts, are exempt from
     public disclosure under RSA 91-A:5, as they pertain to
     confidential commercial or financial information which warrants
     confidential treatment pursuant to N.H. Admin. Rules Puc 204.05
     and .06.  The Specified Data Responses, according to Bell
     Atlantic, include specific systems test plans and results,
     operational methods, practices, specifications and procedures,
     vendor pricing details underlying engineering cost assumptions,
     and disaggregated information by specific wire centers and
     categories of retail services.   
         In addition, Bell Atlantic seeks protective treatment
     of future Data Responses containing similar information
     (hereinafter referred to as Similar Data Responses) during the
     remainder of this docket. Bell Atlantic describes the Similar
     Data Responses as:  operations support systems (OSS) expenses
     paid to specific vendors for specific services, product delivery
     processes, operational methods and procedures, OSS design
     specifications, detailed departmental budget information, vendor-specific price/cost specifications and bidding information, and
     disaggregated usage and revenue data.  The Similar Data Responses
     should be available to parties to the docket, to the Commission
     and to the Commission Staff, but not to the public, according to
     Bell Atlantic, under the same RSA 91-A:5 exemption applied to the
     Specified Data Responses.    
         Furthermore, Bell Atlantic requests that the parties
     and Staff give Bell Atlantic prior notice of the identity and
     affiliation of independent consultants, experts, or any other
     person, to whom the parties and Staff intend to provide access. 
     Bell Atlantic seems to reserve the right to refuse such access to
     any person who is an officer, director, stockholder, partner,
     owner, consultant or employee of a direct competitor of Bell
     Atlantic or a Bell Atlantic affiliate.  Bell Atlantic proposes
     that access to the Information be contingent upon a Commission
     order instructing all parties and Staff to maintain the
     Information as confidential.
         We find that the Specified Data Responses and the
     Similar Data Responses warrant protection under RSA 91-A:5, IV
     and the Commission's standards for granting confidential
     treatment in Re New England Telephone Co. d/b/a NYNEX, 80 NHPUC
     437 (1995) and Puc 204.06.  Bell Atlantic has demonstrated that
     public release of the Specified and Similar Data Responses would
     provide competitors with an unfair competitive advantage in
     developing marketing strategies.  
         Under the balancing test we have applied in prior
     cases, Re New England Telephone Co. d/b/a NYNEX, 80 NHPUC 437
     (1995) et al., the benefits of non-disclosure to NYNEX appear to
     outweigh the benefits of disclosure to the public.  Puc 204.06(d)
     provides us with latitude to prescribe the manner in which
     information shall be protected from disclosure.  Therefore,
     although atypical, the treatment Bell Atlantic requests for  the
     Information is not prohibited.  We note that we granted
     substantially similar treatment to Data Responses provided in DE
     96-420, Petition Requesting that Incumbent LECs Provide Customers
     with a Fresh Look Opportunity, and DE 96-220, Petition for
     Approval of Proposed Merger of a Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of Bell
     Atlantic Corporation into NYNEX Corporation.
          Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
          ORDERED, that Bell Atlantic's Motion for Confidential
     Treatment of the Responses to the Data Requests enumerated above
     is GRANTED, and it is
          FURTHER ORDERED, that Bell Atlantic's Motion for
     Confidential Treatment of Data Responses provided in the docket
     which contain similar information shall be similarly treated, and
     it is
          FURTHER ORDERED, that Bell Atlantic shall specifically
     identify Data Responses, filed subsequent to the date of this
     order, for which confidentiality is claimed under this order; and
     it is
          FURTHER ORDERED, that this order is subject to the
     Commission's on-going rights in light of RSA 91-A, should
     circumstances so warrant.
               By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this seventeenth day of February, 1998.
        Douglas L. Patch    Bruce B. Ellsworth        Susan S. Geiger
            Chairman           Commissioner            Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary