Bell Atlantic, Cox Strike Accord to Connect Networks in Virginia
Bell Atlantic Now Faces Seven Competitors in State
February 18, 1997
RICHMOND, Va. -- Bell Atlantic-Virginia and affiliates of Atlanta-based Cox Communications announced today they will connect their networks in Virginia. The Bell Atlantic phone companies have now reached 31 comprehensive interconnection agreements with 10 competing local exchange companies.
"This brings us a significant step closer to bringing true competition to the long distance business in Virginia," said Hugh Stallard, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic-Virginia. Bell Atlantic cannot offer long distance in its mid-Atlantic service area until it complies with a 14-point checklist prescribed by the Telecommunications Act.
Stallard said the agreement with Cox is a major milestone in meeting the spirit and intent of the act. "We now have agreements with two companies that are strategically poised to serve residential customers with their own facilities in two of the state's largest markets," he said. Bell Atlantic also has an agreement with Jones Telecommunications of Virginia, which serves Alexandria.
In addition, Bell Atlantic-Virginia has interconnection agreements with C-TEC, Hyperion, MFS, Teleport Communications Group (TCG) and WinStar.
Stallard said the talks with Cox went very differently from those with the big long distance companies. "You can really tell the difference when you negotiate with a company that actually plans to make a major investment in facilities and to compete for customers," he said. "AT&T, MCI and Sprint seem more preoccupied with keeping us out of their long distance empire than with providing local phone service."
Specifically today's agreements, which are effective immediately, are with Cox Fibernet Commercial Services and Cox Fibernet Access Services. Under the terms, Cox and its affiliates will be able to connect their facilities with portions of Bell Atlantic's network to provide local exchange telephone services in competition with Bell Atlantic. The agreements cover how the companies will physically connect their networks and the price they will pay for completion of calls on the other's network. In addition, the agreements outline what the companies must do to allow customers to take their telephone number with them as they switch phone companies.
Bell Atlantic Corp. (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.