Bell Atlantic-Massachusetts Announces
Rebates, Rate Reduction
Result of State Decision to End Unjustified Fees for Internet-
May 21, 1999
BOSTON -- Bell Atlantic today announced $17 million in rebates and $21
million in annual rate reductions for all of its Massachusetts phone
customers, a move made possible by a state decision to end unjustified
fees Bell Atlantic has paid for computer calls headed to the Internet.
The Department of Telecommunications and Energy May 19 ruled that
Bell Atlantic is no longer required to pay these fees to other telephone
companies. In light of that decision, Bell Atlantic today informed the
commission that it would offer customers the rebates and reductions.
"The DTE's decision to plug what it characterized as a 'loophole' is
already paying dividends for consumers," said Robert Mudge, Bell
Atlantic vice president -- Massachusetts. "We're passing the benefits
of this ruling along to all our customers."
Bell Atlantic said customers will receive a credit of more than $4 on each
line. In addition, the company will reduce touch-tone charges.
Residential touch-tone rates will drop by 50 percent, from $.98 to $.49,
effective this summer.
The loophole allowed other companies to set up for no other purpose than
to act as middlemen and collect unjustified fees from Bell Atlantic before
completing calls to Internet Service Providers. The DTE recommended
that the companies should negotiate fair and appropriate compensation for
the Internet-bound calls.
"Had the DTE not closed this loophole, our ratepayers would have
been faced with a substantial annual rate increase to cover the cost of these
fees," Mudge said. "The consumer has clearly won with this
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With 43 million telephone access lines and nine
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.