Bell Atlantic First with Long-Term Solution that Lets Customers Keep Their Number when Switching Phone Companies

Bell Atlantic Delivers Improved Service to New York Businesses, Consumers

Results Improve Dramatically As Record Growth Continues

October 30, 1997

Media contacts:

Mark Marchand


ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York consumers and businesses are

reaping the benefits of Bell Atlantic's sweeping efforts

to improve service through increased network investments,

new service delivery processes and the addition of

service-related jobs over the last 18 months.

From September, 1996, through August, 1997, Bell Atlantic

met or exceeded 94 percent of the service targets contained

in the regulatory plan under which the company operates in

New York. These results were reported at the end of the

second year of the state's seven-year Performance Regulatory

Plan (PRP), which includes nearly 1,000 monthly, quarterly

and annual service delivery targets. During the first year

of the plan, Bell Atlantic met 80 percent of the targets.

"These results show that we are fast becoming the company

that sets the service standard for our industry," said Arnie

Eckelman, Bell Atlantic Group President-Customer Services.

"What's remarkable about them is that our service quality

continued to improve even though the PRP's goals get more

difficult each year. And our performance was stronger while

we met a record demand for telephone lines and optional

services and faced increasing competition in our marketplace.

"Excellent service is what a successful company must provide

in a competitive marketplace," Eckelman added.

Under the PRP -- which was adopted by the New York Public

Service Commission (PSC) in August, 1995 -- Bell Atlantic

must meet a stringent set of service quality standards

that get tougher each year. The plan continues until year


If Bell Atlantic does not meet PRP targets, the company

has guaranteed its service by agreeing to pay rebates to

customers in affected areas. Once the PSC completes its

review of the second year results, it is expected that

Bell Atlantic in New York will pay rebates to its customers

that are dramatically less than what it paid during the plan's

first year. While the amount is not yet finalized, it is

estimated to be less than one-tenth of what the company paid

during the PRP's first year.

"Our results here, as well as our new customer care program

announced earlier this week, clearly demonstrate that quality

service is our top priority," added Eckelman, who is now

responsible for customer services across the Bell Atlantic


The service quality targets Bell Atlantic must meet in New York

include the following: The rate and total number of repairs,

missed repair appointments, lines out of service for more than

24 hours, speed of answer on customer calls to company business

offices and customer complaints to the commission.

This year, to improve service in New York, Bell Atlantic has

added 1,100 service-related jobs and increased its annual

network construction budget to over $1.5 billion -- a more

than $200 million increase.

Earlier this week, Bell Atlantic also announced a program

heightening its commitment to quality service across the

region it serves. The new "customer care" program, which

builds on service improvement practices that have worked

well in various parts of the business, includes:

  • Sixty-day money back guarantees on many of Bell Atlantic's

    most popular features.

  • Automatic credits when a phone line is out of service for

    more than 24 hours.

  • Forwarding of incoming calls during prolonged outages.

  • Follow-up telephone calls to customers after their service

    is installed or repaired.

Bell Atlantic service results are expected to be reviewed

at an upcoming New York PSC meeting.

The new Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell

Atlantic and NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications,

information and entertainment industry. With 40 million

telephone access lines and 5.8 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.