DS 98-225
                         Bell Atlantic 
     Request to Introduce National 411 Directory Assistance
                   Order Denying the Request
                    O R D E R   N O.  23,154
                       February 23, 1999
       On December 28, 1998, New England Telephone and
     Telegraph Company, d/b/a Bell Atlantic - New Hampshire (BA-NH or
     Company) petitioned the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission
     (Commission) for authority to introduce National 411( N-411)
     Directory Assistance.  Along with the petition, BA-NH provided
     cost information.  On January 4, 1999, the Company filed a public
     notice of the filing.
       This filing introduces national directory assistance
     for customer listings situated outside of New Hampshire. A
     customer would only be required to dial 411 and tell the Bell
     Atlantic operator the desired city, state and listing name.  The
     proposed rate is $0.95 per call, which, according to Bell
     Atlantic, is the mid-point of what competitors charge for
     national directory service. 
       At the request of Commission Staff, the Commission
     issued Order No. 23,118 on January 27, 1999 extending the time to
     review the petition by 30 days, pursuant to RSA 378:6 IV, in
     order to provide additional time to review the cost information
     provided by the Company.
       Staff has completed its review of the filing and cost
     support information.  While Bell Atlantic's cost support
     information includes inputs and cost factors which are different
     from the inputs and cost factors of previous cost studies
     submitted by the Company, it is Staff's opinion that the proposed
     rate still exceeds the cost of providing the service. Many, but
     not all, inputs to the cost study are actually higher than
     previous cost study inputs, including the total element long run
     incremental cost (TELRIC) inputs. Also, this cost study is
     reported to be a total service long run incremental cost (TSLRIC)
     study as opposed to an incremental cost study which was the
     methodology relied upon by the Company to support previous new
     tariff filings.  TSLRIC studies result in higher proxy costs than
     incremental cost studies, in most cases. In  addition, Staff
     believes approval of the petition is in the public interest as
     Bell Atlantic's entry into the national Directory Assistance
     market will stimulate competition for this service.
       Although customers can access an alternative carriers'
     directory assistance service for both in-state and national
     listings in a number of ways, we are concerned that Bell
     Atlantic's abbreviated three digit dialing pattern will result in
     an unfair competitive advantage compared to the manner in which
     customers access an alternative carrier's directory assistance
     service. In addition, we are concerned customers are not
     adequately informed of the charges at the time the customer makes
     a 411 call.  Therefore, we will deny the request and hold a
     hearing.  Interested parties should file comments on or before
     March 15, 1999 explaining whether this petition will result in
     competitive harm to alternative carriers.  In addition, comments
     should address issues related to adequate customer notification
       Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby 
       ORDERED, that Bell Atlantic's petition for National 411
     (N-411) Directory Assistance is hereby DENIED, and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that a hearing be held before the
     Commission located at 8 Old Suncook Road, Concord, New Hampshire
     on March 17, 1999 at 10:00 a.m., at which each party will provide
     a statement of its position with regard to the petition and any
     other related issues.
       FURTHER ORDERED, that pursuant to N.H. Admin. Rules Puc
     203.01, BA-NH shall notify all persons desiring to be heard at
     this hearing by publishing a copy of this Order of Notice no
     later than March 3, 1999, in a newspaper with statewide
     circulation or of general circulation in those portions of the
     state in which operations are conducted, publication to be
     documented by affidavit filed with the Commission on or before
     March 15, 1999; and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that pursuant to N.H. Admin. Rules Puc
     203.02, any party seeking to intervene in the proceeding shall
     submit to the Commission an original and eight copies of a
     Petition to Intervene with copies sent to BA-NH and the Office of
     the Consumer Advocate on or before March 12, 1999, such Petition
     stating the facts demonstrating how its rights, duties,
     privileges, immunities or other substantial interests may be
     affected by the proceeding, as required by N.H. Admin. Rule Puc
     203.02 and RSA 541-A:32,I(b); and it is
       FURTHER ORDERED, that any party objecting to a Petition
     to Intervene make said Objection on or before March 15, 1999.
       By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this twenty-third day of February, 1999.
           Douglas L. Patch       Susan S. Geiger     Nancy Brockway
               Chairman           Commissioner          Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Claire D. DiCicco
     Assistant Secretary