Bell Atlantic To Build $80-million High-Speed Education Network in New Jersey

Bell Atlantic To Build $80-million High-Speed Education Network in New Jersey

Garden State Schools and Libraries Will Be Linked to One of the Nation's Most Advanced Data Networks

April 21, 1997

Media contacts:

Tim Ireland




NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey schools and libraries soon will have access

to one of the nation's most advanced telecommunications networks.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the Division of the

Ratepayer Advocate today agreed to accelerate Bell Atlantic's

Opportunity New Jersey (ONJ) network modernization program. This new

agreement will allow the company to meet its broadband technology

deployment goals early.

Under the original plan, Bell Atlantic pledged to deploy broadband

technology across the state by 2010. With the revised plan, Bell

Atlantic will be building a statewide broadband network by 2001 that

will be ready for use by New Jersey's libraries, elementary schools

and high schools beginning in 1998 and continuing through 2001.

Special needs school districts located in the state's urban areas will

be connected by the end of 1999.

"Opportunity New Jersey always has been supple enough to adjust to the

state's changing needs," said Len J. Lauer, president of Bell

Atlantic-New Jersey. "At ONJ's conception several years ago, most

high-school teachers hadn't even heard of the Internet. Today, many

of them can't imagine teaching without it. "

"Bell Atlantic wants to make certain New Jersey's students, teachers

and librarians can keep pace with as yet unimagined advances in

information technology," Lauer said. "That's why we're accelerating

the deployment of broadband technology for schools and libraries

across the state."

The new network - which features deployment of ATM, or asynchronous

transfer mode, technology - will be able to transmit information at

speeds in excess of 45 megabits per second.

Bell Atlantic will spend an estimated $55 million building the ATM

network and $25 million on the equipment necessary to connect

libraries and schools to it. Schools and libraries also will be able

to access the new network at discounted rates.

In addition, Bell Atlantic will become a key corporate sponsor of this

fall's statewide Net Day activities and will supply a state

coordinator through fall 1997.

ONJ is Bell Atlantic's commitment to accelerate the modernization of

New Jersey's telecommunications infrastructure over 18 years. The

company is four years into the plan.

As part of the plan, the BPU monitors Bell Atlantic's progress in

meeting mandated deployment targets. This year's monitoring process

began with hearings in February and ended today with an agreement to

move up the date of broadband deployment for schools and libraries.

The BPU and the Ratepayer Advocate also certified today that Bell

Atlantic had met the deployment goals outlined in the original ONJ


"We commend the Board of Public Utilities and the Ratepayer Advocate

for their constructive contributions to the ONJ evaluation process,"

Lauer said. "Now, we look forward to enhancing the learning

experiences of all New Jersey residents by connecting more schools and

libraries to one of the nation's most advanced high-speed networks."

Bell Atlantic has a long record of supporting education initiatives in

the state. These include: the nationally acclaimed Interactive

Multimedia Education Trial in Union City, the TEC 2000 vocational

education program, the annual Opportunity New Jersey Technology Grants

and a continuing commitment to Net Day.

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

communications, entertainment and information industry. In the

mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider 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.