A state appeals court in Pennsylvania has overturned the January 2006 decision of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PPUC) approving the merger of Verizon Communications and MCI on grounds that the PPUC failed to address adequately the anticompetitive effects of the deal. The ruling by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court orders the PPUC to reject the merger (which was consummated early in 2006) or to impose conditions that would protect ratepayers in the state. (Meanwhile, in accordance with congressional directives, a U.S. district court judge is continuing to review Justice Department and FCC approvals of the Verizon-MCI deal and the merger of AT&T and SBC Communications.) In a 30-page opinion handed down on Tuesday, the Pennsylvania court decreed: “we find that there was no evidence that the merger of Verizon and MCI in Pennsylvania would affirmatively promote the service, accommodation, convenience or safety of the public in some substantial way.” Asserting that the merger “has enabled Verizon to increase investment and serve customers better in a hotly competitive industry where technology has permanently changed the way people communicate, in Pennsylvania and across the country,” Verizon Pennsylvania President William Petersen said: “we think the [PPUC] got it right.”