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Hollings to run his first hearing

Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) will examine competition in local telephone markets next Tuesday in his first hearing as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

AT&T Chairman C. Michael Armstrong will provide star power, and will also enjoy support from Hollings, who believes the local phone companies have blocked access to local markets for far too long. Other witnesses will include Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Bell South EVP Margaret Greene, Allegiance Telecom Chairman Royce Holland, McLeod USA Chairman Clark McLeod and Consumers Union Co-director Gene Kimmelman.

Hollings and other committee members are likely to discuss with witnesses legislation now under consideration in the House that would allow incumbent phone companies to offer long-distance data service without having to open their local markets to competition, as the law currently requires. Hollings opposes the bill, which is sponsored by Reps. Billy Tauzin (R-La.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.) and fiercely opposed by Markey.
- Paige Albiniak