Verizon Communications announced Wednesday that the Federal Communications Commission has granted it permission to offer long-distance phone service in Vermont. The Baby Bell phone carrier is the dominant provider of local phone service in the Northeast. Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, incumbent phone companies must prove they have opened their local networks to competitors in exchange for offering long-distance service.
Verizon has also gained long-distance approval in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. The company expects the FCC to rule on its applications for New Jersey and Maine by the end of June. Verizon will start long-distance service to Vermont consumers later this month.