DE 98-126


               Order Nisi Approving Interconnection Agreement

                            O R D E R  N O. 23,000
                                August 17, 1998

   On July 9, 1998, New England Telephone and Telegraph
Company (Bell Atlantic) and XCOM Technologies Inc.(XCOM) filed
with the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (Commission) a
negotiated Interconnection Agreement (Agreement).  On July 24,
1998 XCOM filed notification to the Commission that the Agreement
is assigned to their affiliate, Level 3 Communications LLC
(Level 3), pursuant to Section 29.9 of the Agreement.  The
Agreement was filed for approval pursuant to section 252(e) of
the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TAct).
  This Agreement provides, inter alia, for
transmission/routing of exchange service traffic and exchange
access traffic, transmission/termination of other types of
traffic and joint network configuration.  It further provides for
unbundled access, resale, collocation, number portability,
dialing parity, access to rights of way, access to data bases,
and directory assistance service.  The parties will exchange
technical and traffic information which will be kept proprietary;
each party will maintain facilities within its own network and
will not interfere with the other party's systems.

  This Agreement is a comprehensive set of terms and
conditions that will facilitate the entry of Level 3 as a
competitive local exchange carrier in New Hampshire.  The parties
agree to jointly engineer, plan and operate a diverse
transmission system with which they will interconnect their
respective networks, focusing primarily on a Synchronous Optical
Network (SONET) architecture.  The Agreement specifies the
designation of interconnection points, provides for a joint
grooming plan, and provides that the physical interface of
facilities will be at the optical level via a fiber-meet or other
comparable means. 
   The interoffice facilities are priced on an unbundled
basis to allow for use with other unbundled network elements,
thus creating numerous facilities-based and/or resale options to
Level 3 in the provisioning of exchange and intrastate toll
services.  The Agreement also includes detailed unbundling of
local outside plant and central office facilities that would
allow Level 3 to provide digital and other high-tech services
with minimal future negotiating or "grooming" of the Agreement.   
  Prices in this filing are virtually the same as those
in the previously approved non-cellular interconnection 

agreements for the services/elements that are common.  Staff
points out that the TAct does not require that a
telecommunications company sell each service/element for the same
price or terms to each requesting party. 
  Order No. 22,692 required that the Bell Atlantic
Statement of Generally Available Terms (SGAT) take effect, as
filed, on October 20, 1997 subject to continued review pursuant
to section 252(f)(4) of the TAct.  With the SGAT implemented,
Level 3 and other competitors can purchase unbundled elements
that may not be covered by an interconnection agreement.
  Staff recommends approval of the Agreement between Bell
Atlantic and Level 3 based on a review of the summary, the actual
agreement and verbal clarification provided by Bell Atlantic.
  We have reviewed the filing and find it meets the
standards of section 252(e)(2)(A) of the TAct for approval of a
negotiated Agreement.  The Agreement does not appear to be
discriminatory to any carrier not a party to the negotiations and
is consistent with the public interest, convenience, and
necessity.  We will approve it on a nisi basis in order to
provide any interested party an opportunity to request a hearing
pursuant to RSA 374:26.

  Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
  ORDERED NISI, that the Interconnection Agreement
negotiated between Level 3 and Bell Atlantic is approved; and it
  FURTHER ORDERED, that the Petitioner shall cause a copy
of this Order Nisi to be published once in a statewide newspaper
of general circulation, such publication to be no later than      
August 24, 1998 and to be documented by affidavit filed with this
office on or before August 31, 1998; and it is
  FURTHER ORDERED, that all persons interested in
responding to this petition be notified that they may submit
their comments or file a written request for a hearing on this
matter before the Commission no later than September 8, 1998; and
it is
  FURTHER ORDERED, that any party interested in
responding to such comments or request for hearing shall do so no
later than September 14, 1998; and it is
  FURTHER ORDERED, that this Order Nisi shall be
effective September 17, 1998, unless the Commission provides
otherwise in a supplemental order issued prior to the effective

  By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
Hampshire this seventeenth day of August, 1998.     

  Douglas L. Patch      Bruce B. Ellsworth     Susan S. Geiger
      Chairman             Commissioner          Commissioner

Attested by:


Thomas B. Getz
Executive Director & Secretary