The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) approved Verizon Communications' acquisition of MCI this week, eliminating the last major hurdle facing the acquisition and setting the stage for Verizon to compete with AT&T.
The PSC had expressed some concerns over the pending acquisition, but Verizon said that the PSC found that the deal is in the public interest.
"We were confident that once an analysis based on the full set of facts was conducted, the commission would reach the right decision," said Thomas McCarroll, Verizon's vice president for regulatory affairs in New York, in a statement. "With the high concentration of large businesses in the state, New York and New York customers stand to benefit through the creation of a strong competitor that will provide global reach, a suite of IP-based and value-added services, delivery of next-generation services, and a broader product portfolio."
Two former Baby Bells, Verizon and SBC Communications, picked up MCI and AT&T respectively, after the FCC issued rulings that MCI and AT&T said made it impossible for them to compete effectively with Baby Bells. (SBC, formerly Southwestern Bell, changed its name to AT&T after the acquisition.)
The PSC approval of the MCI acquisition followed by a few days approval of the deal by the California Public Utilities Commission. Verizon said it expects the acquisition to be formerly completed next month or in early January.
AT&T was broken up more than two decades ago. The U.S. telecommunications landscape is now dominated by the newly-reconstituted AT&T and Verizon. BellSouth continues as a strong service provider in the southeast and Qwest, a distant fourth, operates primarily in western mountain states.
Verizon said the new combined company will be in a position to compete for and serve large business and government customers.