Bell Atlantic, Merrimack Education Center Team Up To Offer Internet Access to Massachusetts Schools, Libraries, Municipalities

Bell Atlantic, Merrimack Education Center
Team Up
To Offer Internet Access to Massachusetts
Schools, Libraries, Municipalities

Affordable, Hassle-Free Solutions from Two Experienced Names

Feb. 8, 2000


Jack Hoey,

BOSTON - Massachusetts educators no longer need to worry about
whether their schools are making the most of their critical connections to
the Internet.

Bell Atlantic and the Merrimack Education Center (MEC) today
announced they are teaming up to offer schools, libraries, and
municipalities in the Commonwealth an affordable, hassle-free way to
take full advantage of high-speed Internet and data access.

"Bell Atlantic and MEC are two experienced names in the
community and in educational networking," said Robert Mudge,
vice president of Bell Atlantic-Massachusetts. "We have the
expertise and the experience to enable our schools and libraries to take full
advantage of the Internet."

MEC has long been a leader in delivering comprehensive high-tech
solutions to the education community in Massachusetts. Some 200 public
and private schools and institutions are among its satisfied clients,
including public school systems in Brookline, Newton, Springfield,
Acton-Boxborough, Lawrence, Chicopee and Malden.

"We are pleased to be partnering with Bell Atlantic," said Dr.
John Barranco, executive director of MEC. "This relationship will
help us expand and improve our network and offer new, attractive services
at substantially reduced prices."

Bell Atlantic Data Solutions Group is providing the Internet services.
MEC will manage network installation and maintenance, provide user
email accounts, Web hosting, content filtering, help desk support and
technical training for technology coordinators and teachers.

"Bell Atlantic's network and MEC's track record in serving the
education community offer schools, libraries and municipalities a
tremendous opportunity to make a quantum leap forward in teaching,
learning and information technology," said Mudge. "While
educators must be concerned about costs, they want to know that the
people behind the network understand education and the burden new
technologies place on school administrators and information services

By collaborating with Bell Atlantic, the complete MECnet Wrap-Around
service, is $745 per month anywhere in Massachusetts. The offer
includes Bell Atlantic's Frame Relay Service and Internet access at T1
speeds. Equipment is free for customers who sign up before April 1.
Additional links within the same school district are available at even lower
prices. Where available, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service offers an
attractive alternative for high-speed connections for $395 per month.

Mudge urged schools and libraries to do their homework carefully before
choosing an Internet provider. "Other offers make big promises, but
provide very little detail on how schools will be served, when service will
be available, and what it will cost. As you make your plans for the
coming year, we encourage you to compare the benefits and consider the
service and reliability you can expect from our Bell Atlantic-powered

School, library and municipal officials with questions about these services
should contact Carole Schuster at MEC on 978- 250-1116 ext. 337
(schuster@mec.edu) or William Hauck at Bell Atlantic on 617-743-7491

Bell Atlantic Data Solutions Group (DSG) www.ba-dsg.com provides globally
integrated network solutions that seamlessly connect businesses with their
customers, partners and employees. DSG provides all aspects of data networking
from the management and operation of customer networks and network
integration, to network transport and advanced IP services such as intranets and
extranets, virtual private networks, web hosting and multimedia services.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With nearly 44 million telephone access lines and 12 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.