Bell Atlantic Directory Services Announces Expansion of Free Community-Oriented Learning Days throughout the Bell Atlantic Region

Bell Atlantic Directory Services Announces

Expansion of Free Community-Oriented Internet

Learning Days throughout the Bell Atlantic Region

Bell Atlantic and Microsoft Offer Free Internet

Training to the Northern Virginia Community

January 24, 1998

Media contacts:

Stephanie Hobbs


VIENNA, Va., -- Bell Atlantic announced today that it is conducting free Internet Learning Days in targeted communities throughout the Bell Atlantic region in conjunction with its Internet Guide, which is printed as part of the Yellow Pages in selected directories. Internet Learning Day, piloted late last year at the University of Maryland, is geared to adults who do not have access to Internet training.

The announcement came at an Internet Learning Day held at the CompUSA in Vienna, Va., to complement the introduction of the Internet Guide in new Bell Atlantic directories in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. The event attracted a number of adults, including numerous senior citizens, seeking to learn how to best use the Internet. It was co-sponsored by Microsoft Corp., Bell Atlantic Internet Solutions, the unit of Bell Atlantic that offers Internet access services, and numerous community-based organizations.

"Bell Atlantic believes it is important to bring the Internet to the estimated 35 percent of our adult population who do not have access to learning about and accessing the Internet.," said Robert A. Graham, president, Bell Atlantic Directory Services. "We will announce other free Internet Learning Days, as we solidify co-sponsors and interested community organizations."

Internet Learning Days are now confirmed for Philadelphia at LaSalle University, March 7, 1998, and are being planned for Washington, D.C., Harrisburg, Pa., South Hampton Roads, Va., Newark, N.J., and Portland, Me., (dates to be announced).

The selection of Internet Learning Day sites is based on the inclusion of the Bell Atlantic Internet Guide in the Yellow Pages for a particular area, as well as corporate and community sponsorship.

Internet Learning Day correlates with the introduction of Bell Atlantic's Internet Guide, a step-by-step guide to the Internet for novice users, and Bell Atlantic's BigYellowSM, the nation's leading online shopping directory.

"The Internet parallels the adoption, popularity and use of today's telephone," said Graham. "We are joining forces with other businesses, government and educational organizations, to create hands-on learning opportunities for those who may have been left behind in the Internet wave."

The Internet Learning Day program is a series of intensive one-hour courses that provides an overall introduction of the Internet followed by individualized, computer-based participation on the Internet. The sessions at the University of Maryland and Vienna, Va., were led by instructors from Microsoft's Mid-Atlantic Region.

Community organizations also point to the lack of available Internet education for adults of all ages and socio-economic levels, and for small businesses. In Northern Virginia, groups such as Career Transition Center, Facets, Fairfax County Department of Family Services, Hispanic Committee of Virginia, PC Seniors and the Women's Entrepreneurial Network participated in the current Internet Learning Day by promoting membership attendance.

"The Internet is becoming a commodity in the workforce, so for our clients becoming more knowledgeable about the Internet also means becoming more marketable in the workforce," said Judy Kuhnsman, program director, Womens' Entrepreneurial Network. "Activities such as this free Internet learning experience and the availability of Bell Atlantic's Yellow Pages Internet Guide are a good first step."

Participants in Internet Learning Day events receive information on places they can access the Internet for free, and ways to acquire a personal computer at a discounted cost. A personal computer is awarded to one of the participants.

The Internet Guide--supported by advertising in a 12-page tabbed insert in the Yellow Pages--contains information on hardware and software requirements, a glossary, a step-by-step approach for connecting to the World Wide Web, tips on choosing an Internet service provider and a list of recommended Web sites. The guide has a corresponding Web site (www.iosg.com) for additional information and updates.

Bell Atlantic (NYSE.BEL) is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With 40.5 million telephone access lines and six million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are the premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services in the eastern United States and market leaders in wireless services. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 21 countries.