02.07.1997Corporate

Bell Atlantic, NYNEX Ad Highlights New Commitment To Universal Design




Bell Atlantic, NYNEX Ad Highlights New Commitment To Universal Design

Ad Features Blind New Jersey Resident "Reading" Newspaper
Using New Technologies



February 7, 1997







Media contacts:

NYNEX

Maureen Flanagan 212-395-0500

Bell Atlantic

Michel Daley 202-392-1021




NEW YORK/PHILADELPHIA -- HREF="http://www.bell-atl.com">Bell Atlantic and HREF="http://www.nynex.com">NYNEX today introduced a
new print advertisement highlighting the companies' commitment to
ensure the accessibility of their services and products offered by the
new Bell Atlantic to all customers -- including those with
disabilities.


The advertisement, which is running in select Northeast newspapers,
features New Jersey resident Dave DeNotaris, who is blind. DeNotaris
is a motivational speaker and works at the First Occupational Center
of New Jersey, where he helps individuals with disabilities find
competitive employment. In the advertisement, DeNotaris is
photographed using a Bell Atlantic/NYNEX mobile phone and Newsline, a
service provided by the National Federation of the Blind,
which allow him to "read" the newspaper. He also
uses a
speech synthesizer to access the Internet.


The text of the advertisement quotes DeNotaris as saying, "New
telephone technology is leveling the playing field for people with
disabilities. I'm blind, but I can 'read' today's newspapers, surf
the Internet, and do my job all using new telephone technology -- like
voice recognition, digital phone lines, and more."


"These telecommunications services are giving persons with
disabilities equal access to the American Dream," added DeNotaris
today.


Full-page versions of the advertisement are running this week in the
New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Albany Times-Union, Asbury
Park Press, Bergen County Record, Newark Star Ledger, Washington
Times, National Journal, Roll Call, The Hill and Harrisburg Patriot
News.


Earlier this week, Bell Atlantic and NYNEX announced that when they
merge the new Bell Atlantic will adopt Universal Design Principles to
ensure that all company-wide telecommunications services are fully
accessible and widely marketed to a broad range of diverse users,
including individuals with disabilities. Leaders of the disability
community and Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA) endorsed the move at a
Bell Atlantic-NYNEX press conference in Washington, D.C.


"Dave DeNotaris' story is a wonderful example of how innovations in
telecommunications are enabling individuals with disabilities to be
competitive in the workplace, while enhancing the overall quality of
their lives," said HREF="http://www.nynex.com/who_we_are/nynex_policy_council/reed.html">Don
Reed, NYNEX president and group executive,
External Affairs and Corporate Communications. "With the Universal
Design Principles there will be many more stories like Dave's. Our
goal is to help everyone communicate better."


"Today, more than 49 million people in the United States -- one out
of
every five of us -- has a functional disability. So designing and
marketing products that meet the needs of all customers, including
those with disabilities, isn't just good policy, it's good business,
too," said Bruce S. Gordon, Bell Atlantic group president Consumer
and
Small Business Services. "By incorporating Universal Design
Principles in the creation and marketing of future products and
services, we can save time and money, while growing a larger customer
base."


The companies pledged that the new Bell Atlantic will:


  • Adopt Universal Design Principles to ensure that all company-wide
    telecommunications services are fully accessible and widely marketed
    to a broad range of diverse users, including individuals with
    disabilities;


  • Include people with disabilities on consumer panels and advisory
    committees;


  • Use advertising that is accessible to consumers who have hearing or
    visual disabilities; and,


  • Expand the existing line of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX products and
    services that are already accessible and usable by people with
    disabilities.


The advertisement also shows DeNotaris -- a two-time New Jersey Power
Lifting Champion, three-time National Power Lifting Champion and
two-time World Blind Power Lifting Champion with 16 national records
-- lifting weights. DeNotaris' text portion of the advertisement
closes with, "Now if I could only get some phone technology to help
me
with my weightlifting meets, I'd really be set."


The proposed
merger
between Bell Atlantic and NYNEX was announced
April 22, 1996. The combined corporation will serve 39 million
telephone access lines in 13 states and more than 4 million cellular
customers. Shareowners of both companies overwhelmingly approved the
merger at special meetings in November 1996.


####


[NOTE: Dave DeNotaris is available for interviews. Please contact
Maureen Flanagan or Michel Daley at the above numbers to arrange to
speak with Dave DeNotaris.]