Bell Atlantic Offers Help With Telecom Milestones

Bell Atlantic Offers Help With Telecom

December 15, 1999


Listed at the end of the release

NEW YORK -- Making a millennium list? Checking it twice? If you're working on a
story about milestones in telecommunications or technology, here are some highlights from the
earliest days of telephony to the present. The events focus on the Northeast region served by
Bell Atlantic.

  • 1876: Most students know Alexander Graham Bell uttered the
    first words from his Boston workshop on March 10. But how many
    readers know the first two-way, long-distance call was made on Nov. 26
    that same year between Mr. Bell in Boston and Mr. Watson in Salem,

    • 1878: Boston's first telephone book is issued. It contains only
      the names of 67 firms since numbers are not yet used.

    • 1879: West Virginia's first phone line was installed in Wheeling,
      the same year Maine, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia established
      their first exchanges, allowing customers to easily reach their neighbors by
      calling operators who then connected the calls.

    • 1890: The first coin phone was introduced in New York City.

    • 1900: Callers in Cambridge, Mass., became the first in New
      England to reach an operator using a battery-powered phone rather than a
      hand crank phone.

    • 1922: A mechanical switch makes it possible for New Yorkers
      in the Pennsylvania "6" exchange to make local calls by
      dialing instead of first calling the operator. That same year, Mr. Bell dies
      and during his funeral all phone service in the U.S. and Canada is halted
      for one minute, something that would be unimaginable today.

    • 1927: Transatlantic phone service is established between New
      York and London.

    • 1934: In the midst of the depression, Congress passes the
      Communications Act of

    • 1934 which sets a goal of making
      telephone service available at an affordable rate to every household.

    • 1947: Mobile telephone service was made available along the
      Boston-Washington highway, and a Boston-New York microwave radio
      system made possible a new way to transmit telephone, radio, and
      television signals. Area codes are created.

    • 1951: New Jersey residents can now directly dial numbers in
      California without using an operator. A payphone call in New York City
      goes from a nickel to a dime.

    • 1964: Touch-tone service introduced in Wellesley, Mass.

    • 1966: Call Forwarding and Call Waiting are tested for the first
      time in Wellesley, Mass.

    • 1984: Bell Atlantic, NYNEX and five other "Baby
      Bells" were formed as a result of the break-up of AT&T. As a result,
      phone customers would have one company providing local phone service
      and another providing long-distance service.

    • 1988: Bell Atlantic was first in the nation to offer Caller ID
      service in New Jersey.

    • 1990: Delaware becomes the first state with border-to-border
      cellular phone service from Bell Atlantic Mobile.

    • 1993: NYNEX introduces voice-activated dialing in New York
      and other Northeast states. West Virginia becomes 100 percent digitally

    • 1996: Bell Atlantic Mobile installs the nation's first digital
      network using Call Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology.
      NYNEX announces BigYellowsm, an online, interactive directory listing
      businesses nationwide.

    • 1996: Congress passes the Telecommunications Act of

    • 1996, which called for opening telecommunications markets to
      competition. The Act opened the door for Bell Atlantic and other Bell
      companies to offer long-distance service as soon as they showed they have
      opened their local markets. When that happens, phone customers will
      once again be able to get their local and long-distance service from one

    • 1997: Bell Atlantic-NYNEX merge, creating the largest local
      phone company in the nation, serving from Maine to Virginia.

    • 1998: Bell Atlantic began offering a high-speed Internet
      connection using Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology. Bell Atlantic
      and GTE agreed to merge, creating what will become the leading U.S.
      wireline and wireless carrier. Bell Atlantic's New England region
      becomes 100 percent digitally switched.

    • 1999: Bell Atlantic and Vodafone Airtouch announced
      formation of the largest wireless business in the country. Also, Bell
      Atlantic sought approval from the Federal Communications Commission
      to offer long-distance service in New York.


    Delaware - Ells Edwards, 302-576-5340

    Maine - Peter Reilly, 207-797-1335

    Maryland - Sandy Arnette, 410-393-7109

    Massachusetts - Jack Hoey, 617-743-4760

    New Hampshire - Erle Pierce, 603-641-1651

    New Jersey - Soraya Rodriguez , 973-649-2279

    New York City - John Bonomo, 212-395-0500

    New York State - Cliff Lee, 518-396-1095

    Pennsylvania - Sharon Shaffer, 215-963-6200

    Rhode Island - Lillian McGee, 401-525-2134

    Vermont - Joan Jamieson, 802-863-0797

    Virginia - Paul Miller, 804-772-1460

    Washington, D.C. - Michel Daley, 202-392-1021

    West Virginia - Harry Mitchell, 304-344-7562

    Bell Atlantic Mobile - Andrea Linskey, 908-306-7845

    Directory Group - Phil Santoro, 978-762-1326