Bell Atlantic Responds to PUC Schedule for Resolution of Pennsylvania Telecom Issues

Bell Atlantic Responds to PUC Schedule for
Resolution of Pennsylvania Telecom Issues

March 31, 1999


Sharon Shaffer,
215-963-6200 or 412-633-5574

BACKGROUND -- The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC)
today announced a schedule for consolidating petitions filed by two
coalitions seeking resolution of a number of pending
telecommunications issues. These issues include the prices competing
companies pay Bell Atlantic to link to its network, the prices long
distance companies pay Bell Atlantic to carry calls on its local network
and universal service. The following response may be attributed to
Daniel J. Whelan, president and CEO, Bell Atlantic-Pennsylvania.

"Today's announcement is clear evidence that the Global
Settlement process succeeded in moving the commonwealth one step
closer to even greater competition for local and long distance telephone
service. Contrary to our opponents' claims that talks in the five-month
process "broke down," a coalition of 35 telecommunications providers
continued to negotiate and last month filed a proposal that fully addresses
the issues included in the Global Settlement. This proposal includes direct
customer savings of more than $300 million, price breaks to competitors,
provisions for stable basic service prices through the year 2003, a state
universal service fund that will keep phone service affordable in rural
areas, and a program to expand low-cost Lifeline service to more

We appreciate the commission's acknowledgement of the
collaborative efforts to open the local telephone markets by Conectiv
Communications, Inc., Network Access Solutions, the Rural Telephone
Company Coalition and Bell Atlantic - Pennsylvania. Our joint petition
grew from extremely complex negotiations that required all parties to
move far off their original positions to reach a compromise.

Bell Atlantic will continue to work with all parties to reach a final
resolution that will enable all competitors to fight in the marketplace, not
in the courtroom or hearing room."