Bell Atlantic, Cox Strike Accord to Connect Networks in Virginia

Bell Atlantic, Cox Strike Accord to Connect Networks in Virginia

Bell Atlantic Now Faces Seven Competitors in State

February 18, 1997

Media contacts:

RICHMOND, Va. -- Bell Atlantic-Virginia and affiliates
Atlanta-based Cox Communications announced today they will connect
their networks in Virginia. The Bell Atlantic phone companies have now
reached 31 comprehensive interconnection agreements with 10 competing
local exchange companies.

"This brings us a significant step closer to bringing true
to the long distance business in Virginia," said HREF="http://www.ba.com/speeches/profiles/stallard.html">Hugh
president and CEO of Bell Atlantic-Virginia. Bell Atlantic cannot offer
long distance in its mid-Atlantic service area until it complies with a
14-point checklist prescribed by the Telecommunications Act.

Stallard said the agreement with Cox is a major milestone in meeting
the spirit and intent of the act. "We now have agreements with two
companies that are strategically poised to serve residential customers
with their own facilities in two of the state's largest markets," he
said. Bell Atlantic also has an agreement with Jones
Telecommunications of Virginia, which serves Alexandria.

In addition, Bell Atlantic-Virginia has interconnection agreements
with C-TEC, Hyperion, MFS, Teleport Communications Group (TCG) and

Stallard said the talks with Cox went very differently from those with
the big long distance companies. "You can really tell the
when you negotiate with a company that actually plans to make a major
investment in facilities and to compete for customers," he said.
"AT&T, MCI and Sprint seem more preoccupied with keeping us out of
their long distance empire than with providing local phone service."

Specifically today's agreements, which are effective immediately, are
with Cox Fibernet Commercial Services and Cox Fibernet Access
Services. Under the terms, Cox and its
affiliates will be able to
connect their facilities with portions of Bell Atlantic's network to
provide local exchange telephone services in competition with Bell
Atlantic. The agreements cover how the companies will physically
connect their networks and the price they will pay for completion of
calls on the other's network. In addition, the agreements outline
what the companies must do to allow customers to take their telephone
number with them as they switch phone companies.

Bell Atlantic Corp. (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.