Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Stumbo Negotiates Homeland Security Agreement Upgrading Communications Capabilities

Press Release Date:  Thursday, August 10, 2006  
Contact Information:  Vicki Glass, 502-696-5643 Office  

Attorney General Stumbo today announced that his office has negotiated a Homeland Security communications agreement as a component of the pending merger between AT&T Inc. and BellSouth Corporation.

The Attorney General required that upgraded communications services be provided to the Kentucky Department of Homeland Security as a condition to his agreement on the merger of the telephone service companies.  The merger is the subject of a Public Service Commission Order (see attached) which is expected to be final in the near future.

Stumbo expressed confidence that the improvement of Kentucky Department of Homeland Security communications would be a major benefit to all Kentuckians.

“In a post 9/11 world, Homeland Security is a top priority,” Stumbo said.  “By requiring this public/private cooperation to upgrade Homeland Security communications, we ensure the protection of Kentucky’s citizens in these uncertain times.”

Portions of the merger agreement negotiated by the Attorney General state:

The combined companies will enhance service to government customers, strengthen national security, and improve response to national disasters (Order, page 1, paragraph 3).

Further, AT&T and BellSouth are directed to:

[c]ontact the Kentucky Department of Homeland Security after the merger closes and will familiarize that agency with its enhanced capabilities regarding response to natural disasters and other emergencies (Order, page 6, paragraph 1(i)).

Attorney General Stumbo elaborated on his role in the regulation of utilities such as AT&T and BellSouth.

“My Office of Rate Intervention, headed by Dennis Howard, is closely involved in public utility matters,” Stumbo stated. “We are best known for reducing utility costs by more than $75 million in the last two years, but that is just part of the story.  We also work to ensure that the public gets more than lower bills, and this much needed communications upgrade for our Homeland Security Department is a good example of our work.  Keeping Kentuckians safe and secure is the primary goal of my office.”

Stumbo notified Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet Secretary LaJuana Wilcher and Kentucky Homeland Security Director Major Alecia Webb-Edgington about the pending communications upgrade by letter today (click here - 382k PDF).