Bell Atlantic to Build High-Speed Network for Mountain State
Economic Impact of 'Bell Atlantic® WEST VIRGINIA 2001sm' to Rival That of Interstate Highways, Governor Says
October 14, 1997
Office of the Governor
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Bell Atlantic-West Virginia will build a new
$20-million broadband telecommunications network in West Virginia.
This network has the potential to improve the lives of all West
Virginians by giving them access to a host of new technologies.
Plans for the network, known as Bell Atlantic® WEST VIRGINIA
2001sm , were revealed today at a news conference hosted by Gov.
Cecil H. Underwood at the state capitol.
"This mammoth undertaking may have as much impact on the economic
vitality of our state as the launching of the interstate highway
system three decades ago," Underwood said. "The Bell Atlantic WEST
VIRGINIA 2001 network will improve the efficiency of state government
and position West Virginians for the new challenges and economic
opportunities of the 21st century."
"WEST VIRGINIA 2001 will enhance the quality of education, health care
and the economy in the state for many years to come," added Sam Tully,
chief technology officer for the state Office of Technology.
"Bell Atlantic will accelerate the deployment of next-generation
technology throughout the state," said Dennis Bone, president and CEO
of Bell Atlantic-West Virginia. "The potential of this project is
enormous for our customers."
Construction on the network already has begun and is expected to be
completed by the year 2000.
"Governor Underwood challenged us to use advanced technology to make
West Virginia more competitive," Bone added. "WEST VIRGINIA 2001 is
our response to that challenge."
A key component of the WEST VIRGINIA 2001 network will be Bell
Atlantic's asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) cell relay service. ATM
consolidates voice, data and video communications on a single phone
line at extremely high speeds, providing greater capacity and
Ultimately, the network will provide advanced technology to West
Virginia state government agencies, colleges and universities, schools
and not-for-profit health-care providers.
"WEST VIRGINIA 2001 will link our state's higher education community
electronically, enabling colleges and universities to share resources
as never before," Underwood said. "In addition, the network's
capabilities will greatly enhance the level of health care for
citizens in rural areas. Doctors will have access to such
sophisticated technologies as teleradiology and telepathology, which
will allow them to serve patients across town or across the state."
Bone said he anticipates the network will help West Virginia attract
businesses requiring state-of-the art communications technology. "I'm
proud that our company can play such an integral role in making that
happen," he said.
As part of the WEST VIRGINIA 2001 project, Bell Atlantic will
establish a grant program through which the company will furnish
special equipment to qualifying higher education, health-care and
governmental institutions to help them use the network. This
equipment, called an "edge device," converts voice, data and video
communications into an ATM-based format. The grant program will begin
late this year.
The WEST VIRGINIA 2001 network is the latest in a series of Bell
Atlantic initiatives using advanced technologies to improve the
quality of life in West Virginia. Bell Atlantic-West Virginia was the
first company in the nation to boast 100-percent digital switching
capability. The company's Office of the Future program leverages
Bell Atlantic's advanced technology to attract information-intensive
businesses to West Virginia.
Through the Bell Atlantic® WORLD SCHOOLsm program, all
kindergarten through twelfth-grade public schools in Bell Atlantic's
West Virginia service area are linked to the Internet using high-speed
frame relay service. In addition, the company has awarded grants
totaling nearly $250,000 to West Virginia educators who are tapping
the Internet and other new technologies to enhance learning.
The new Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and
NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications, information and
entertainment industry. With 40 million telephone access lines and
5.5 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 21 countries.