Military can participate
in review of Verizon

Pacific LightNet Inc., which opposes a Carlyle Group subsidiary's $1.65 billion proposed acquisition of telephone provider Verizon Hawaii, can take part in a state regulatory review of the deal, along with other groups.

How to be heard

To comment to the state Public Utilities Commission on the proposed sale of Verizon Hawaii:

» Submit comments by Sept. 30 to: Public Utilities Commission, state of Hawaii, 465 S. King St., Room 103, Honolulu 96813.

» E-mail comments to

» All comments should reference Docket No. 04-0140.

The U.S. Department of Defense and other federal agencies; and Time Warner Telecom of Hawaii LP, which does business as Oceanic Communications, also will be allowed to intervene in the proceeding, the state Public Utilities Commission ruled yesterday.

The groups will receive access to all documents reviewed by the commission and can participate in the discovery process and ask questions of the Carlyle Group and Verizon Hawaii.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1357 will be allowed to address issues that affect vested benefits of Verizon Hawaii employees and employee conditions for the union's 1,280 members, as well as review documents.

Retirees are concerned that their pension, medical and employee stock benefits, and their free telephone concessions, are not adequately addressed in the merger agreement. Union members are worried that their contract may be altered and the existing pension plan canceled.

However, Verizon Hawaii and the Carlyle Group said the retirees will not be affected and that the Carlyle Group is committed to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

The Defense Department expressed reservations about a proposed revamp for Verizon Hawaii's back-office operations because it said the services are essential to military readiness.

Telecommunication providers Pacific LightNet and Time Warner, which are competitors of Verizon Hawaii, depend on their rival's services and said they are concerned because the Carlyle Group proposes to rebuild Verizon Hawaii's back-office processes only nine months after receiving regulatory approvals. Pacific LightNet and Time Warner said the process could hamper their own operations.



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