A group of competitive service providers, headed by AT&T Corp., this week filed a petition with the Virginia State Corporation Commission in an attempt to have the commission order the state's incumbent carrier, Verizon Communications Inc., to separate its wholesale and retail units.
The group says splitting Verizon is the only way to ensure competitive providers get fair treatment from the company. Competitive carriers must work with Verizon, which owns the last-mile local loops, to offer telecom services to end users.
Similar attempts to split Verizon have been made in other states, including Pennsylvania and Maryland. Pennsylvania and Maryland declined to enforce the structural split of Verizon's wholesale and retail arms, although Pennsylvania did say there should be a functional split.
The group of competitive providers says that without a structural split, Verizon will monopolize not only voice services, but next-generation technologies as well.
Verizon has responded to the petition by stating that a structural split would result in higher phone costs, longer deployment rollouts for new technologies and customer confusion.