Bell Atlantic Expands Repair Service for Deaf Customers

Bell Atlantic Expands Repair Service for Deaf Customers

Customers Using TTY Devices Get Direct Connection

March 8, 1999


John Bonomo,

NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic customers in New York and New England who
use a text telephone - or TTY - now have a direct line into the
company's repair center to report service problems.

Through a special company-operated relay center in Lansdowne, Pa., deaf,
hard-of-hearing or speech-impaired customers who use a TTY can
communicate with the company's repair staff and report service problems
on their phone lines, instead of relying on friends and family to do it
for them.

"We owe it to all of our customers - especially those with
disabilities -- to make our products and services more accessible and
easy to manage," said John Rollo, Bell Atlantic executive director for
Community Affairs. "This direct connection for TTY users will be a time
saver for customers, both in terms of identifying the service problem
and cutting the time needed by our technicians to repair the line."

The toll-free number for the center is 1-888-663-0363. It is staffed
from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends
and holidays. The TTY service has been in operation in the company's
mid-Atlantic states for about a year.

There is no change in the way other callers reach Bell Atlantic's repair

As with other repair calls, Bell Atlantic technicians are responsible
for locating and clearing troubles on customers' lines. Customers
themselves are responsible for repairs on their own telecommunications
equipment, including TTY sets.

Prior to the new service, TTY users depended on friends or neighbors to
call Bell Atlantic for repair services. In some cases, these customers
contacted Bell Atlantic repair service through individual states' relay
centers, where communications assistants serve as interpreters, relaying
text and voice messages between TTY users and people who use a
standard telephone.

"The Lansdowne center is staffed by specially trained Bell Atlantic
employees who know how to handle a TTY-relayed call and who are familiar
with the repair process," said Kevin O'Sullivan, a manager with the
company's repair service operations who oversaw the implementation of
the new TTY service. "This is important because good communications
between the customer and our repair personnel helps get the job done
right the first time. Extending repair service to TTY users is further
indication of the care and attention we provide to our customers."

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With more than 42 million telephone access lines
and 8.6 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.