Bell Atlantic's Investment in Pennsylvania Tops $925 Million in 1999

Bell Atlantic's Investment in Pennsylvania Tops $925 Million in 1999

Company Expands Fiber-Optics, Digital Technologies in Commonwealth

December 29, 1999


Sharon Shaffer,

Harry Mitchell,

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Pennsylvania consumers and businesses are
served by one of the most advanced telecommunications networks in the
country, thanks to an aggressive network investment program Bell
Atlantic continued during 1999. By the end of the year, the company
estimates it will have spent more than $925 million to modernize, expand
and upgrade its vast telecommunications network serving the
Commonwealth -- an investment of approximately $18 million a week.

"During the past year, we continued to aggressively expand our
state-of-the-art telecommunications network in Pennsylvania," said
Daniel J. Whelan, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic - Pennsylvania.
"We're delivering on our promise to provide rural and urban
customers with high-speed access to the Internet, work-at-home
capabilities and a host of other innovative services."

Bell Atlantic earmarked most of its 1999 construction expenditures to
expand fiber-optic facilities and to continue adding the latest technology to
the company's switching centers throughout the state.

"We added more than 91,000 miles of fiber-optics in Pennsylvania
this year, bringing o the total in our Pennsylvania network to more than
877,000 miles," said Whelan. "In addition, nearly 99 percent
of our lines are served by digital switching centers, allowing us to bring
the latest services to our customers."

Fiber-optic systems use laser-generated light pulses and digital technology
to provide greater capacity, higher transmission speeds and better quality
for voice, video and data transmitted over the network. One hair-thin
strand of fiber can potentially carry tens of thousands of telephone calls at
one time.

Whelan noted other milestones the company achieved in Pennsylvania
during 1999:

  • Bell Atlantic expanded availability of its high-speed Internet
    access service, InfospeedSM DSL, to additional communities in the
    Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metropolitan areas. Infospeed DSL provides
    an always-on connection to the Internet with no dialing, no busy signals
    and no waiting. DSL provides customers with Internet access up to 126
    times faster than today's fastest analog modems.

  • The company introduced National 4-1-1 directory assistance
    service in Pennsylvania, offering callers a simple way to obtain accurate
    listings anywhere in the nation at affordable prices.

  • In an innovative partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of
    Education, Bell Atlantic provided $300,000 to fund two
    telecommunications learning labs. The labs, in Westmoreland and Bucks
    counties, will help students obtain the skills to become
    telecommunications technicians.

  • The Bell Atlantic Foundation awarded a $200,000 grant to help
    train faculty to use a new multi-point video network developed by the
    State System of Higher Education's Center for Distance Education. This
    training will enable teachers to offer more creative learning experiences to
    their students.

    In addition to deploying the latest technology, Bell Atlantic has spent tens
    of millions of dollars to open Pennsylvania's local telephone market to
    competition. "We have irreversibly opened our markets to
    competition," said Whelan. "More than 150 companies are
    authorized to provide local phone service in Pennsylvania, and such
    companies as Nextlink, CTSI and Conectiv have entered this market

    "We can't force the long-distance giants or anyone else to compete
    here, but anyone who genuinely wants to enter our markets can do

    Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information
    industry. With more than 43 million telephone access lines and more than 10
    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