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Bell Atlantic, AT&T Agree To Connect Networks In Maryland, Virginia
August 5, 1997
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Bell Atlantic has signed comprehensive local
interconnection and resale agreements with AT&T for service in
Maryland and Virginia. Approvals from the Maryland Public Service
Commission and the Virginia State Corporation Commission are expected
to come within a month.
"The barriers to real long distance competition have been removed with
these agreements," said Hugh Stallard, president and CEO, Bell
Atlantic-Virginia. "AT&T's presence in the local telephone market
qualifies Bell Atlantic to offer long distance service and provide
one-stop shopping for all our customers' telecommunications needs."
"These agreements prove that Bell Atlantic is serious about meeting
the requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 despite the
carping of our competitors," said Sherry Bellamy, president and CEO of
Bell Atlantic-Maryland. "We're ready to compete head-to-head with
AT&T and look forward to breaking the long distance oligopoly. Bell
Atlantic will be offering customers real choices for both long
distance and local services."
Bell Atlantic has entered into 71 comprehensive interconnection
agreements since passage of the Telecommunications Act last year. In
addition, Bell Atlantic has entered into 21 agreements that provide
for the resale of Bell Atlantic's local service.
As required by law, these agreements permit AT&T to buy local
telephone service from Bell Atlantic and sell the service under its
own brand, as if it were their own.
In addition, Bell Atlantic has agreed in the new agreements to offer
AT&T numerous services, including:
- access to Bell Atlantic databases and ordering systems;
- interconnection at various points in the Bell Atlantic network;
- collocation of AT&T equipment in Bell Atlantic central offices;
- interconnection to other companies with whom AT&T is not directly
- number portability, and
- the ability to purchase and combine what are commonly called
"unbundled network elements."
The arrangements permit AT&T to offer local service to customers by
reselling Bell Atlantic's local service, repackaging Bell Atlantic's
network elements, or interconnecting AT&T's facilities to Bell
Atlantic's facilities, to the extent that AT&T chooses to build its
Prices for all of the interconnection services and unbundled network
elements that Bell Atlantic will provide AT&T will be based on the
actual costs of providing those services. These rates are expected to
be approved by the Maryland and Virginia commissions within a few
The agreements will allow the completion of calls from Bell Atlantic
customers to AT&T customers, and they will allow customers to take
their phone number with them when they change carriers.
Bell Atlantic cannot offer long distance in its service area in either
Maryland or Virginia until the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
determines that the company has met the requirements of the
Telecommunications Act. AT&T and the other long distance giants have
vigorously opposed local telephone company entry into their market.
Bell Atlantic has 10 comprehensive interconnection agreements in
Maryland and 17 in Virginia.
Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company's telephone company subsidiaries are
the premier providers 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.