Bell Atlantic's Network Investment in Rhode
Yields Solid Results during 1999
About $83 Million Invested This Year;
Company Notes Other Rhode Island Milestones
Dec. 23, 1999
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Rhode Island 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 about $83 million
to modernize, expand and upgrade the vast telecommunications network
that serves the Ocean State.
"As this decade ends, we are proud of our role in keeping Rhode
Island at the head of the pack nationwide in providing an advanced
telecommunications network that will help our state, its businesses,
schools, libraries and consumers to be successful in the new
Millennium," said Bell Atlantic Rhode Island President and CEO
The funds were used primarily to expand the company's fiber-optic
facilities as well as equipping switching centers with the most up-to-date
software and hardware. Bell Atlantic's 30 switching centers throughout
the state already use the latest digital technology systems.
Bell Atlantic added about 2,500 miles of fiber-optic cable in Rhode
Island, bringing the state's overall fiber-optic network to over 65,500
miles -- or enough to circle the Earth two-and-a-half 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.
Bell Atlantic also continued its aggressive efforts to open the local
telephone market in Rhode Island, 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.
In Rhode Island, nearly 400 companies have been approved to provide
local phone service. Bell Atlantic is required to open local markets
before it can gain federal approval to sell long distance in a given state.
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
In April, the Bell Atlantic Foundation donated $2.1 million to the
Heritage Harbor Museum, a state history museum and cultural center,
scheduled to open in 2001 in Providence. Special effects and the latest
telecommunications technology will send audiences into the past to learn
about our region's diverse culture and history and will allow enable the
museum to participate in distance learning programs.
"This grant, which will link the museum's theater with classrooms
and the rest of the world, is another example of our continuing
commitment to improving the quality of life and education in our
state," Cupelo said.
Cupelo noted other milestones the company achieved in Rhode Island
- Obtained regulatory approval in October for the most
sweeping changes to rates and calling areas ever undertaken in
the state. During 2000 the company will phase-in these
changes which include expanding 12 local service areas,
reclassifying toll calling to Providence as one-way, local
calling for all exchanges that do not currently have local
calling to Providence, and providing basic rate decreases for
- Introduced National 4-1-1 directory assistance service,
offering Rhode Island callers a simple way to obtain accurate
listings anywhere in the nation at affordable prices.
- Established a communications system for the agencies
involved in the recovery operation and investigation of the
EgyptAir Flight 990 tragedy.
- Worked with the International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers (IBEW) union Local 2323 to open a training center
at the Davies Vocational School in Lincoln that will prepare
students for telecommunications careers.
- Partnered with the State of Rhode Island to begin upgrading
the Enhanced 911 network to more precisely identify cell
phone users making emergency calls.
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