URI to host free public forum Oct. 25
on state's telecommunications market
KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 6, 1999 -- The University of Rhode Island's
Research Institute for Telecommunications and Information Marketing (RITIM)
will hold a public forum on the state's telecommunications industry Monday,
Titled, "Telephone Competition in Rhode Island: When, How and Who?"
the program will run from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Rhode Island Convention Center
in Providence. For further information, call 874-5065.
"This is a free and open presentation from the existing and potential
competitors regarding availability of voice services in the local Rhode
Island market," said Ruby Dholakia, professor of marketing and director
of RITIM, which is housed in URI's College of Business Administration.
The panelists are: Michael Bellas, vice president of business services,
Cox Communications; Donna Cupelo, president and CEO, Bell Atlantic - Rhode
Island; Rob Shanahan, president, New England Voice and Data of Rhode Island
(NEVD); Paul Vasington, commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications
and Energy; Katherine P. White, general counsel and vice president, AT&T
of New England.
The program will also feature a "Presentation of Research on Rhode
Island Business & Residential Customers' Opinions regarding Local Competition
The moderator is Frank Prosnitz, editor of the Providence Business
The program comes at an important time for the state, Dholakia said.
"Rhode Island has started to take several measures to leverage its
telecommunications infrastructure for economic development," she
said. "When the local market is served by several companies, the business
community is positively affected by the competition among local service
providers. When service to the residential market is included in the scope
of activity, then the application of telecommunications infrastructure for
various commercial purposes moves to a higher plane."
The RITIM program is unique because for the first time it will have the
major players, current and potential, in the same room addressing the issue
of local availability of phone services.
Dholakia said the following issues are likely to be raised: Who among
these competitors will offer voice and data services to the entire Rhode
Island market? What are AT&T's, Cox, NEVD's plans? How will Bell Atlantic
address the needs of the market?
"This issue is of interest to many businesses for whom telecommunications
is a key strategic input/advantage," the URI professor said. "Residential
customers are also looking for choices and want to know if the choices will
come to Rhode Island soon. Political and economic development officials
in the state who are trying to find out how to leverage the state's infrastructure
for economic development should also attend."
In addition to the panelists' point of view, the program will present
findings from two surveys conducted among residential and business customers
in Rhode Island. This study was sponsored by state Public Utilities Commission
in the summer of 1999.
For Further Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116