Bell Atlantic, AT&T Agree To Connect Networks In Maryland, Virginia

Bell Atlantic, AT&T Agree To Connect Networks In Maryland, Virginia

August 5, 1997

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Paul Miller



ARLINGTON, Va. -- Bell Atlantic has signed comprehensive local

interconnection and resale agreements with AT&T for service in

Maryland and Virginia. Approvals from the Maryland Public Service

Commission and the Virginia State Corporation Commission are expected

to come within a month.

"The barriers to real long distance competition have been removed with

these agreements," said Hugh Stallard, president and CEO, Bell

Atlantic-Virginia. "AT&T's presence in the local telephone market

qualifies Bell Atlantic to offer long distance service and provide

one-stop shopping for all our customers' telecommunications needs."

"These agreements prove that Bell Atlantic is serious about meeting

the requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 despite the

carping of our competitors," said Sherry Bellamy, president and CEO of

Bell Atlantic-Maryland. "We're ready to compete head-to-head with

AT&T and look forward to breaking the long distance oligopoly. Bell

Atlantic will be offering customers real choices for both long

distance and local services."

Bell Atlantic has entered into 71 comprehensive interconnection

agreements since passage of the Telecommunications Act last year. In

addition, Bell Atlantic has entered into 21 agreements that provide

for the resale of Bell Atlantic's local service.

As required by law, these agreements permit AT&T to buy local

telephone service from Bell Atlantic and sell the service under its

own brand, as if it were their own.

In addition, Bell Atlantic has agreed in the new agreements to offer

AT&T numerous services, including:

  • access to Bell Atlantic databases and ordering systems;

  • interconnection at various points in the Bell Atlantic network;

  • collocation of AT&T equipment in Bell Atlantic central offices;

  • interconnection to other companies with whom AT&T is not directly


  • number portability, and

  • the ability to purchase and combine what are commonly called

    "unbundled network elements."

The arrangements permit AT&T to offer local service to customers by

reselling Bell Atlantic's local service, repackaging Bell Atlantic's

network elements, or interconnecting AT&T's facilities to Bell

Atlantic's facilities, to the extent that AT&T chooses to build its

own facilities.

Prices for all of the interconnection services and unbundled network

elements that Bell Atlantic will provide AT&T will be based on the

actual costs of providing those services. These rates are expected to

be approved by the Maryland and Virginia commissions within a few


The agreements will allow the completion of calls from Bell Atlantic

customers to AT&T customers, and they will allow customers to take

their phone number with them when they change carriers.

Bell Atlantic cannot offer long distance in its service area in either

Maryland or Virginia until the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

determines that the company has met the requirements of the

Telecommunications Act. AT&T and the other long distance giants have

vigorously opposed local telephone company entry into their market.

Bell Atlantic has 10 comprehensive interconnection agreements in

Maryland and 17 in Virginia.

Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new

communications, entertainment and information industry. In the

mid-Atlantic region, the company's telephone company subsidiaries are

the premier providers of local telecommunications and advanced

services. Globally, it is one of the largest investors in the

high-growth wireless communication marketplace. Bell Atlantic also

owns a substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and

is actively developing high-growth national and international business

opportunities in all phases of the industry.