Regulators Grant Bell Atlantic-Washington Pricing Flexibility, Telephone Customers to Pay Lower Basic Rates

Regulators Grant Bell Atlantic-Washington Pricing
Flexibility, Telephone Customers to Pay Lower Basic Rates

Company to Give $4 Million to Connect Public Schools to Information Superhighway

November 12, 1996

Media contacts:

Michel Daley 202-392-1021


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The District of Columbia Public
Service Commission
today made basic telephone service more affordable, while liberating
Bell Atlantic - Washington from outmoded regulation in favor of new
rules that cap the company's prices rather than its earnings. The
change represents one more step toward creating telecommunications
competition in Washington.

Bell Atlantic will eliminate the cost for Touch-Tone service and
reduce rates for basic residential and business dial-tone services.
These reductions will result in $25.8 million in savings for Bell
Atlantic's customers over a four-year period. Bell Atlantic also
volunteered to contribute $4 million to a new Infrastructure Trust
Fund to pay for computers, network wiring and other equipment so that
students in all of the District's 165 public schools will have access
to the Internet.

"The order is a fair compromise," said HREF="http://www.ba.com/homes/freeman.html">William Freeman,
president and
CEO, Bell Atlantic - Washington. "It's a win for consumers because
they will receive lower rates; it's a win for the city because we will
connect D.C. public schools to the Internet; and it's a win for Bell
Atlantic because we will receive the pricing flexibility we need in a
competitive marketplace."

Bell Atlantic will have three categories of services under the new
plan: basic, discretionary and competitive. The company will reduce
and cap rates for residential and business dial-tone service. Bell
Atlantic can adjust prices for discretionary services like Call
Waiting and Caller ID based on formulas established by the order. On
competitive services such as Centrex and high-speed data services also
provided by Bell Atlantic's competitors, the company now has the
flexibility to raise and lower rates quickly.

"We now have the regulatory cornerstone in place to set prices as
quickly as our competition," said Freeman. "This plan puts us
on equal
footing with powerful companies that plan to offer local telephone
service in Washington, but it also affords us the opportunity to give
back to our customers and to our community."

Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE:
BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local
telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the
largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication
marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in
Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing
high-growth national and international business opportunities in all
phases of the industry.