DE 98-085
                         BELL ATLANTIC
Order Segregating Request for Reconsideration of the Portion of
Order No. 23,037 Denying EAS Expansion to Vermont, and Permitting
    Balloting to Proceed on the Portion of Order No. 23,037
     Granting Opportunity to Poll Citizens on EAS Expansion
                        in New Hampshire
                    O R D E R   N O.  23,084
                       December 14, 1998
       On October 7, 1998, the New Hampshire Public Utilities
     Commission (Commission) issued Order No. 23,037, granting
     Petitioners an opportunity to poll citizens regarding expansion
     of the Plainfield exchange to include the Hanover and Lebanon
     exchanges.  This Order denied a similar opportunity for polling
     regarding expansion of the Plainfield exchange to include White
     River Junction, Vermont.  The Commission applied the community of
     interest standard developed by case law and the Federal
     Communications Commission (FCC), and found that no community of
     interest was established between White River Junction and
     Plainfield based on the written and oral comments provided during
     and after the public hearing held August 6, 1998 at the
     Plainfield Town Hall.
       By letter dated November 2, 1998, the Petitioners
     requested reconsideration of the finding regarding White River
     Junction and inclusion of two more Vermont towns in the EAS
     expansion.  The letter presents information not raised at the
     public hearing, providing support for the proposition that a
     community of interest may exist among the towns named.
       Expansion of local calling areas to Vermont towns
     raises questions of interstate jurisdiction and EAS fact-finding
     procedures which could unnecessarily delay implementation of the
     instate EAS expansion granted by Order 23,037.  The questions
     raised by possible interstate EAS expansion include:  (1) What
     additional approvals must be obtained from other regulatory
     bodies such as the Vermont Public Service Board and the FCC? 
     (2) Is interstate telecommunications traffic information
     available to help determine the existence of a community of
     interest?  If not, can a proxy for such traffic be constructed? 
     (3) Which interstate telecommunications carriers have an interest
     in any interstate EAS expansion and need to be included as
     parties to the inquiry?
       We find that the public interest will be served by
     segregating reconsideration regarding interstate expansion of EAS
     from the balloting process granted by Order No. 23,037 for the
     Plainfield-Hanover-Lebanon area.
       Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
       ORDERED, that a vote on Plainfield's EAS expansion to
     include the Hanover, Lebanon and West Lebanon exchanges shall
     proceed as described in Order No. 23,037; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that Staff shall research and report
     the answers to the questions identified above regarding the
     appropriate procedures for interstate expansion of EAS no later
     than 30 days from the issuance of this order.
       By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this fourteenth day of December, 1998.
           Douglas L. Patch       Susan S. Geiger     Nancy Brockway
               Chairman           Commissioner          Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary