Mendoza: It's exactly the type of thing that we intend to promote throughout the state of Minnesota as part of the governor's strategic plan that he announced last Tuesday.But it's hardly clear sailing for MediaOne. It still has to figure out how to offer local phone service, which is a lot more complicated than providing cable television service. Milda Hedbloom is Director of the Telecommunications Forum at the Humphrey Institute. She says MediaOne has had problems with service in the past and will almost certainly face some major challenges as it remakes itself as a full-service telecommunications provider.
Hedbloom: It's not just a, how shall one say, a seamless move; sometimes there's plenty of problems, as you would expect with a new service, it's not novel. But the point is it's not free of hiccups, and so you have to bear that in mind, before we all start cheering.MediaOne's Gary Lane disagrees. He says the company has taken steps to ensure quality service.
Lane: When we deliver telephone service, high-speed video services, high-speed data services, video services over the network, it is basically coming over a brand new network with all kinds of new processes and reliability and backup included as we provide that service.MediaOne's announcement was not exactly clear. In a morning press conference, the company said it would only be offering a premium package of features like call waiting and caller ID for which customers would pay about $23 a month. Company spokesperson Gary Lane said MediaOne feared it couldn't live up to its service pledge if too many customers flocked to buy basic local service from MediaOne.
Lane: We want to be sure that we're in a position to deal with the volume demands that we get, and so we want to be sure that we're ready to deal with the requests that come in as we move along and we think if we were to offer a line with no features, the demand would be so significant we wouldn't be able to deal with it.By mid-afternoon, however, Brian Dietz of MediaOne was saying that MediaOne would, indeed, provide a basic phone service to all its customers for around $15 per month.
Mendoza: They can now show that there is some level of competition in their service area, although there is much more that needs to be done for them to get that authority from the federal government and the state government to provide those interlata, long distance services.