Bell Atlantic To Build $80-million High-Speed Education Network in New Jersey
Garden State Schools and Libraries Will Be Linked to One of the Nation's Most Advanced Data Networks
April 21, 1997
NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey schools and libraries soon will have access
to one of the nation's most advanced telecommunications networks.
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the Division of the
Ratepayer Advocate today agreed to accelerate Bell Atlantic's
Opportunity New Jersey (ONJ) network modernization program. This new
agreement will allow the company to meet its broadband technology
deployment goals early.
Under the original plan, Bell Atlantic pledged to deploy broadband
technology across the state by 2010. With the revised plan, Bell
Atlantic will be building a statewide broadband network by 2001 that
will be ready for use by New Jersey's libraries, elementary schools
and high schools beginning in 1998 and continuing through 2001.
Special needs school districts located in the state's urban areas will
be connected by the end of 1999.
"Opportunity New Jersey always has been supple enough to adjust to the
state's changing needs," said Len J. Lauer, president of Bell
Atlantic-New Jersey. "At ONJ's conception several years ago, most
high-school teachers hadn't even heard of the Internet. Today, many
of them can't imagine teaching without it. "
"Bell Atlantic wants to make certain New Jersey's students, teachers
and librarians can keep pace with as yet unimagined advances in
information technology," Lauer said. "That's why we're accelerating
the deployment of broadband technology for schools and libraries
across the state."
The new network - which features deployment of ATM, or asynchronous
transfer mode, technology - will be able to transmit information at
speeds in excess of 45 megabits per second.
Bell Atlantic will spend an estimated $55 million building the ATM
network and $25 million on the equipment necessary to connect
libraries and schools to it. Schools and libraries also will be able
to access the new network at discounted rates.
In addition, Bell Atlantic will become a key corporate sponsor of this
fall's statewide Net Day activities and will supply a state
coordinator through fall 1997.
ONJ is Bell Atlantic's commitment to accelerate the modernization of
New Jersey's telecommunications infrastructure over 18 years. The
company is four years into the plan.
As part of the plan, the BPU monitors Bell Atlantic's progress in
meeting mandated deployment targets. This year's monitoring process
began with hearings in February and ended today with an agreement to
move up the date of broadband deployment for schools and libraries.
The BPU and the Ratepayer Advocate also certified today that Bell
Atlantic had met the deployment goals outlined in the original ONJ
"We commend the Board of Public Utilities and the Ratepayer Advocate
for their constructive contributions to the ONJ evaluation process,"
Lauer said. "Now, we look forward to enhancing the learning
experiences of all New Jersey residents by connecting more schools and
libraries to one of the nation's most advanced high-speed networks."
Bell Atlantic has a long record of supporting education initiatives in
the state. These include: the nationally acclaimed Interactive
Multimedia Education Trial in Union City, the TEC 2000 vocational
education program, the annual Opportunity New Jersey Technology Grants
and a continuing commitment to Net Day.
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.