Bell Atlantic, MCI Agree to Connect Networks in Washington, D.C.

Bell Atlantic, MCI Agree to Connect Networks In Washington, D.C.

July 29, 1997

Media contacts:

Michel Daley (July 29-30 only)



Paul Miller (after July 30)



WASHINGTON -- Bell Atlantic has signed a comprehensive local
interconnection and resale agreement in Washington, D.C., with the
local service affiliate of long distance giant MCI, Bell Atlantic
announced today. Approval from the District of Columbia Public
Service Commission is expected within a month.

This is the fourth interconnection agreement Bell Atlantic has signed
with MCImetro. Other MCI agreements, all signed in the last month,
are in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

"We've done everything possible to facilitate competition in
Washington. Today's agreement clearly demonstrates that," said Bill
, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic-Washington.

Freeman pointed out Bell Atlantic already has 11 interconnection
agreements in place in the District of Columbia, and more are expected
in the near future.

Since passage of the Telecommunications Act last year, Bell Atlantic
has entered into 90 interconnection agreements with 34 carriers
throughout it's mid-Atlantic region. These include both comprehensive
and resale-only agreements.

In addition, the company has 48 interconnection agreements with 18
wireless carriers.

The agreement announced today permits MCI to resell Bell Atlantic
local phone service, under the MCI brand.

In addition to resale, Bell Atlantic has agreed to offer MCI numerous
services, including:

  • access to Bell Atlantic databases and ordering systems,

  • interconnection at various points in the Bell Atlantic network,

  • collocation of MCI equipment in Bell Atlantic central offices,

  • interconnection to other companies with whom MCI is not directly

  • number portability (allowing customers to keep their phone number
    when they change local phone companies), and

  • the ability to purchase and combine what are commonly called
    "unbundled network elements" which include virtually any piece of
    Bell Atlantic's network.

The arrangements permit MCI to offer local service to customers
through several means. In addition to reselling Bell Atlantic's local
service, MCI may repackage Bell Atlantic's network elements. Another
option, provided for in the agreement, allows MCI to interconnect its
facilities to Bell Atlantic's facilities, to the extent that MCI
chooses to build its own facilities.

Prices for all of the interconnection services and unbundled network
elements that Bell Atlantic will provide MCI are based on the actual
costs of providing those services. MCI may purchase Bell Atlantic's
telecommunications services for resale at a discount off the retail
prices Bell Atlantic customers now pay. This discounted rate is
established by the D.C. Public Service Commission.

While MCI will not reciprocate with similar types of services to Bell
Atlantic, it will allow the completion of calls from Bell Atlantic's
customers to MCI customers, and it will offer number portability.

"Now that we've opened the door for MCI to provide local phone
service, I only hope it will be as accommodating in helping us enter
the long distance business," Freeman said. "There's no question that
the public would be better served by more competition in the long
distance business."

Bell Atlantic cannot offer long distance in its service area until the
FCC determines that the company has met the requirements of the
Telecommunications Act. Previously, MCI and the other long distance
giants have opposed local telephone company entry into that market,
which is dominated by the Big Three oligopoly of AT&T, MCI and Sprint.

Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company's telephone company subsidiaries are
the premier providers of local telecommunications and advanced
services. Globally, it is one of the largest investors in the
high-growth wireless communication marketplace. Bell Atlantic also
owns a substantial interest in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and
is actively developing high-growth national and international business
opportunities in all phases of the industry.