Bell Atlantic Tests Wireless System to Serve Rural Customers

Bell Atlantic Tests Wireless System to Serve
Rural Customers

Technology Designed to Survive Extreme Weather in Remote

June 23, 1999


Cliff Lee,

BRAINARDSVILLE, N.Y. -- Bell Atlantic has begun testing a wireless
technology that could serve as an alternative to traditional landline
telephone service for many of the company's rural customers.

The technology is designed to help maintain Bell Atlantic's high quality
service for many rural customers, including fewer disruptions of service
during severe weather conditions, and quicker, less expensive deployment
of new service.

"If it lives up to its potential during our tests, this wireless service
will provide some significant advantages for Bell Atlantic
customers," said James Moran, Bell Atlantic project manager for the
wireless trial.

Known as Wireless Local Loop (WLL), the technology is being used in
other parts of the country and in Canada. It is designed to provide
individual customers with the same voice and data features available
through traditional wireline service.

The wireless technology being tested by Bell Atlantic uses a fixed point-
to-multi-point digital radio signal with a secure transmission system that
improves the quality of the signal and insures the customers' privacy. The
customers are connected to the Bell Atlantic network by way of radio links
rather than conventional copper wires. A small radio transceiver is placed
on the outside of each customer's home and is tuned into a remote Bell
Atlantic transceiver within a few miles of the customer. The network
transceiver converts the radio signals into traditional calls and connects
them to the local Bell Atlantic digital switching center.

Bell Atlantic began installing equipment for the trial earlier this year and,
this month, began a six-month test with about 100 rural customers in
Brainardsville, a remote New York community on the northern boundary
of the Adirondack Park. It was one of the communities hardest hit by an
ice storm that swept across northern New York and New England in
January, 1998.

Following that storm, Bell Atlantic replaced more than 6,500 poles and
nearly 600 miles of cable damaged by the ice. The cost of network repairs
in northern New York and New England was millions of dollars. Many
customers went several days without telephone service.

"We expect this wireless technology will result in fewer service
interruptions for our customers in rural areas during and immediately
following severe storms," said Moran, "We also anticipate
WLL will be cost effective in providing basic telephone service to rural

"Currently, in order to provide service to many customers in isolated
areas, it is necessary to install scores of poles and miles of expensive
telephone wires," he added. "The wireless alternative could
reduce the need for such facilities."

The WLL technology uses a "line-of-sight" signal that has a
range of 7.5 miles, Moran said, and has the ability to maintain service
during commercial power outages.

At the end of the six-month trial, Bell Atlantic will assess the technical
and economic viability of the wireless technology to determine how it
might be used to serve Bell Atlantic customers.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With 43 million telephone access lines and nine
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.