Bell Atlantic Deploys Fiber Optics, Electronics, Bringing Additional Advanced Technology,Services to Schuylkill County

Bell Atlantic Deploys Fiber Optics,
Bringing Additional Advanced Technology,
to Schuylkill County

Company Invests $400,000 to Expand, Upgrade Local
Telephone Network

December 16, 1999


Ells Edwards,

Sharon Shaffer,

-- Bell Atlantic is nearing completion of a $400,000
fiber-optic project in Pottsville and neighboring communities to upgrade
the local telephone network and provide additional broadband capability
to its customers.

Bell Atlantic is installing fiber- optic cable and associated electronic
equipment to serve public schools, health care facilities, businesses and
homes in Ashland, Frackville, Mahonoy City, Orwigsburg, St. Clair,
Schuylkill Haven and Shenandoah as well as Pottsville. Construction is
expected to be completed by early 2000. The fiber-optic cable also
provides additional reliability and survivability in the Bell Atlantic
network. Fiber-optic systems use hair-thin glass strands and digital
technology to deliver high quality telephone services along with high-
capacity/high-speed voice and date transmission services.

"This project is the latest evidence that Bell Atlantic is meeting our
commitment to deliver a state-of-the-art telecommunications network
throughout Pennsylvania," said Daniel J. Whelan, president of Bell
Atlantic - Pennsylvania. "We are accelerating our construction
schedules to provide rural and urban customers with high-speed access to
the Internet, work-at-home capabilities, as well as a host of other
innovative advanced services."

Whelan said Bell Atlantic has made major strides in deploying advanced
technology in its network:

  • Annual spending on the Pennsylvania network nearly doubled
    from $539 million in 1995 to more than $961 million in 1998.

  • Miles of fiber-optic cable in the commonwealth increased by 66
    percent from 474,450 in 1995 to 786,106 at the end of 1998.

  • Percentage of digital call-routing switches will be 100 percent by
    the end of the year 2000, having grown from 90.3 percent in 1995
    to 96 percent at the end of 1998.

  • Bell Atlantic Infospeedsm DSL was launched in Pennsylvania in
    October, 1998. Infospeed DSL is a secure, high-speed, always-on
    Internet access services that enables consumers to connect to
    cyberspace at speeds up to 100 times faster than today's fastest
    analog modems.

"Bell Atlantic is keeping its promises to Pennsylvania,"
Whelan said. "We are building and enhancing a public
telecommunications network in Pennsylvania that is the finest in the world
and is a vital part of the commonwealth's economic infrastructure.

In addition to deploying the latest technology, Bell Atlantic has spent tens
of millions of dollars to open Pennsylvania's local telephone market to

"We have irreversibly opened our markets to competition,"
Whelan said. "We can't force the long distance giants or anyone
else to compete here, but anyone who genuinely wants to enter our
markets can do so."

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With more than 43 million telephone access lines
and more than 10 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic
companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data
services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest
publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also
among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications
markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.