Southwestern Bell to Make Proposals on Retrieval Services
Case, Patti, THE JOURNAL RECORD
Southwestern Bell Corp. will file recommendations - including a non-solicited recommendation - to U.S. District Court Judge Harold Greene today on how he should implement his Sept. 30 ruling, company officials say.
Greene - who has said he will issue a final order sometime in November - requested recommendations in "seven or eight" areas from interested parties on implementing the ruling. But he remained silent on at least one issue that St. Louis-based Southwestern Bell, which serves Oklahoma, will address in its filing, according to Richard C. Dietz, managing director of strategic planning.
The company also will address the issue of voice storage and retrieval services.
Such services would amount to consumers being able to tap into a message service - similar to answering machines now used by individuals, but without any machines but the telephone. Callers would leave messages that would be recorded in the central offices of the bell company until the phone owner retrieved them.
Greene holds jurisdiction on the entry of the Bell telephone holding companies into new lines of business, under terms of the 1984 consent decree that broke up the Bell system.
His ruling would allow the bell companies to provide a gateway or infrastructure for transmission of information, but the company is prohibited from owning the information.
Southwestern Bell will seek an opinion as to whether voice and data storage retrieval services would fall within the realms of a "gateway" service.
"Our position is that voice storage and retrieval - and even beyond that to data storage and retrieval - is merely a delayed transmission," he said. "We don't own the content of those messages.
"Storage capability should definitely be a part of the service we are allowed to offer."
The ruling allows the former Bell operating companies to offer:
- Electronic "white pages" - a directory searchable by name, address and product.
- Computer "gateways" to other information services - lets consumers dial one telephone number to access electronic information services of many different companies.
- A welcome page to the gateway service and a central index of information service providers.
- Billing services that would let consumers be charged for information services as part of their monthly telephone statement.
As for what Greene's ruling means for Oklahoma operations, Dietz said the final ruling should more clearly define parameters for local strategy. …