DT 99-009
            CCCNH INC d/b/a CONNECT! & Bell Atlantic
         Order Nisi Approving Interconnection Agreement
                    O R D E R   N O.  23,187
                         April 5, 1999
       On February 8, 1999 CCCNH Inc. d/b/a CONNECT!(CONNECT), 
     filed a petition requesting that the New Hampshire Public
     Utilities Commission (Commission) enforce section 252(i) of the
     Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TAct).  Specifically, CONNECT
     sought to execute an interconnection agreement (agreement) with
     New England Telephone and Telegraph Company (Bell Atlantic) under
     the same terms and conditions as those provided to Brooks-New
     England Fiber Communications LLC (Brooks), and approved by Order
     No. 22,753 on October 13, 1997.
       In Docket DE 98-211 Sprint Communications filed a
     petition on December 4, 1998 to elect an interconnection
     agreement under section 252(i) similar to the CONNECT petition 
     in this docket.  The Commission determined that efforts by Bell
     Atlantic to modify an approved interconnection agreement 
     constituted negotiation of a new agreement.  The Commission found
     that refusal by Bell Atlantic to allow Sprint to adopt an
     existing agreement in its entirety is a violation of section
     252(i) of the TAct in this case.  The FCC has decided that the
     right to adopt an interconnection agreement should be limited to
     a reasonable period of time to allow for changes that occur over
     time such as prices and network configuration choices. The
     reasonable time issue will be addressed in a future Commission
     Docket and could change the allowable time for adoption of a
     previously approved agreement in the future.
       Nisi Order No. 23,111 was issued on January 25, 1999
     directing Bell Atlantic to provide Sprint a signed adoption of
     their requested agreement without modification, within seven days
     of the March 1, 1999 effective date of the order. The order
     further directed that Bell Atlantic provide a signed adoption of
     any Commission approved interconnection agreement, without
     modification, within sixty days after a written request from a
     CLEC.  In compliance with this order Bell Atlantic forwarded to
     CONNECT, on March 4, 1999, the requested Brooks Agreement. 
       CONNECT and Bell Atlantic jointly filed with the
     Commission on March 25, 1999 a negotiated interconnection
     agreement.  The agreement was filed for approval pursuant to
     section 252(e) of the TAct.  The agreement filed adopts the terms
     and conditions of the interconnection agreement between Bell
     Atlantic and Brooks which was approved by the Commission as
     previously referenced.  
       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 CONNECT as a
     competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) in New Hampshire.  The
     parties agree to jointly engineer, plan and operate a diverse
     transmission system with which they will interconnect their
     respective networks.  The Agreement specifies the designation of
     interconnection points, provides for a joint grooming plan, and
     provides for the physical interface of facilities. 
        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
     Sprint in the provisioning of exchange and exchange access
     services.  The Agreement also includes detailed unbundling of
     local outside plant and central office facilities that would
     allow CONNECT 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
     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.  A CLEC can request, as demonstrated in this filing, the
     entire agreement of another CLEC pursuant to section 252(i) of
     the TAct.  
        A Statement of Generally Available Terms (SGAT) was
     filed by Bell Atlantic on July 11, 1997 and took effect October
     20, 1997 per order 22,692 (August 25, 1997) subject to continued
     review pursuant to section 252(f)(4) of the TAct.  This allows
     CONNECT and other competitors to purchase services or unbundled
     elements that may not be covered by their interconnection
       The Staff has recommended approval of the Agreement
     between CONNECT and Bell Atlantic based on a review of the
     petition, the Agreement and verbal clarification provided by Bell
       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 submit comments or
     request a hearing pursuant to RSA 374:26.
       We note that as new competitors enter the market,
     greater pressure is put on the 603 area code, so long as today's
     antiquated number assignment process remains in effect. 
     Accordingly, we would urge CONNECT to request and use numbers
     responsibly and conservatively, and to join in exploring
     alternative mechanisms to use existing numbers as efficiently as
     possible and thereby avert the need for a new area code.
       Based upon the foregoing, it is hereby
       ORDERED NISI, that the Interconnection Agreement
     negotiated between CONNECT and Bell Atlantic is approved; and it
       FURTHER ORDERED, that CONNECT will notify the
     Commission within ten days of making their first facility-based
     commercial call in any exchange that has not already been opened
     to a "fresh-look opportunity" as ordered in Docket DE 96-420. 
     The recommended method of notifying the Commission is to provide
     a copy of the "Confirmation of Code Activation Form" which is
     used to notify the North American Numbering Code Administrator;
     and it is
       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
     April 12, 1999 and to be documented by affidavit filed with this
     office on or before April 19, 1999; 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 April 29, 1999; and it
       FURTHER ORDERED, that this Order Nisi shall be
     effective May 10, 1999, unless the Commission provides otherwise
     in a supplemental order issued prior to the effective date.
       By order of the Public Utilities Commission of New
     Hampshire this fifth day of April, 1999.
           Douglas L. Patch       Susan S. Geiger     Nancy Brockway
               Chairman           Commissioner          Commissioner
     Attested by:
     Thomas B. Getz
     Executive Director and Secretary