Bell Atlantic's Network Investment in Maine Yields Solid Results during 1999

Bell Atlantic's Network Investment in Maine Yields Solid Results during 1999

Over $100 Million Invested This Year; Company Notes Other Maine Milestones

December 27, 1999


Peter Reilly,

PORTLAND, Maine -- Maine 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. The company spent $104 million to modernize,
expand and upgrade the vast telecommunications network that serves the
Pine Tree State.

"As the decade ends, we are proud of our role in providing an
advanced telecommunications network that will help our state, its
businesses, schools, libraries and citizens be successful in the new
Millennium," said Bell Atlantic Maine President and CEO Edward

The funds were used primarily to expand the company's fiber--optic
facilities, including completion of a $100--million network
"backbone" from the top of the state to the bottom.
"This self--healing, fiber--ring enhances reliability which is
extremely important to all our customers, including the call center industry
that represents one of the fast--growing sectors of our state's
economy," Dinan said.

Bell Atlantic's 140 call routing centers throughout the state already use
the latest digital technology systems.

Bell Atlantic added nearly 10,000 miles of fiber--optic cable in Maine,
bringing the state's overall fiber--optic network to about 95,000 miles -- or
enough to circle the Earth almost four times. 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.

"Recognizing the growing importance of telecommunications to our
state's overall quality of life, Bell Atlantic is already building a 21st
century network in Maine today," said Dinan. "Coupled with
Bell Atlantic's commitment to service excellence, Maine has one of the
most advanced and reliable networks available."

Bell Atlantic's state--of--the--art telecommunications network has added
to Maine's educational resources and is revolutionizing the way teachers
teach and students learn. By linking nearly 1,200 sites in 1997, Maine
became the first state to have all its schools and libraries wired for access
to the Internet.

"In 1999 we have taken another major step forward in bringing
advanced technology into the classroom," Dinan said. "We
upgraded the links at nearly 200 schools and provided additional capacity
that permits innovative distance--learning applications with broadcast

Bell Atlantic also continued its aggressive efforts to open the local
telephone market in Maine, investing in advanced computer systems and
centers to serve wholesale customers. Bell Atlantic has led the nation in
opening local telephone markets and satisfying the requirements of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996. On Dec. 22, the Federal
Communications Commission approved Bell Atlantic's application to sell
long distance in New York, making it the first regional Bell company
allowed to sell long distance in its home region.

In Maine, 24 companies have been granted the authority to sell local
phone service within the state. Bell Atlantic is required to open local
markets before it can gain federal approval to sell long distance in a given

Dinan noted other milestones the company achieved in Maine during

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

  • The Bell Atlantic Foundation provided a $100,000 grant to the
    University of Maine College of Education for the development of distance
    learning resources for teachers and fostering the effective use of
    technology in their classrooms.

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