Bell Atlantic Exceeds Commitments to Delaware Customers
Company Releases Results Under Telecommunications
Technology Investment Act
March 24, 1998
people of Delaware ahead of schedule. The company, in its report to
the Public Service Commission today, shows that its commitment - to
provide 21st century information services and technology to the state
before the end of the 20th century - is already a reality.
The company made the promise with the passage of the
Telecommunications Technology Investment Act (TTIA) of 1993 which
replaced traditional, rate base - rate of return regulation with a
system that regulates price. The TTIA also reduces the regulation of
competitive telecommunications products and services.
"Everyone in Delaware has benefited greatly from this landmark
legislation," said Joshua W. Martin III, president and CEO of Bell
Atlantic - Delaware. "Customers have been protected from basic
service rate increases and, in fact, have enjoyed rate reductions.
"Taxpayers were spared many of the costs of ponderous and costly
systems of regulatory review, and the company gained flexibility and
control, avoiding complex regulatory deliberations of the past that
lasted months, often years," Martin added. "And our investments under
the act have been, and will continue to be, a major factor in
Delaware's strong economic performance."
The TTIA provides Bell Atlantic with some of the same flexibility that
exists in the marketplace for unregulated companies - such as easier
new product introduction and pricing flexibility - which, in turn,
enhances customer choice and has been a factor in Bell Atlantic -
Delaware's increased workforce of about 20 percent.
Under the TTIA, Bell Atlantic has invested $300 million to build the
most comprehensive, statewide fiber optic network in the nation, making
Delaware one of the first states to convert totally from analog to
digital switching. Major medical facilities, state administrative
offices and all public schools and colleges have access to this fiber
optic network. This investment alone was $50 million more than Bell
Atlantic's five-year commitment and took 40 percent less time to
implement than projected.
To accommodate the growing demand for data services, like the
Internet, Bell Atlantic also initiated a program to make high-speed
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) lines accessible to every
home and office. Now, ISDN is available to any customer who wants it.
The promise was not limited to new technology. It also created many
employment opportunities in the state. Nearly 10 percent of all the
new jobs created in Delaware - more than 3,600 across a wide range of
industries - were directly related to Bell Atlantic's investment
programs and projects.
"Consumers can access the latest technology to transmit information
and data at high speeds and with reliability," Martin said. "State
government agencies can use telecommunications services to do business
more effectively. Health care providers can practice telemedicine,
efficiently transmitting data and records from place to place, and
libraries can become community entry points to the World Wide Web."
Bell Atlantic - Delaware has been operating under the
Telecommunications Technology Investment Act since March 1994. The
Delaware Public Service Commission recently extended the TTIA for an
additional three years beginning March 24, 1999.
Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX -
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 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 21 countries.