Bell Atlantic to Cut Access Fees $2.8 Million

Bell Atlantic to Cut Access Fees $2.8 Million

Company Challenges Long Distance Giants To Pass on Savings to All Pennsylvanians

June 28, 1999

Media contact: Sharon Shaffer, 215-963-6200 or 412-633-5574
Harry Mitchell, 304-344-7562

PHILADELPHIA -- Bell Atlantic is cutting the per-minute fees long distance companies pay for access to the company's local telephone network in Pennsylvania by $2.8 million a year. This reduction will be effective July 1, following June 24 approval by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).

With this latest decrease, Bell Atlantic - Pennsylvania has slashed such access fees to long distance carriers by more than $73 million over the past three years.

"All Pennsylvanians deserve to share in these price cuts, not just the long distance companies," said Lynn Walker, Bell Atlantic - Pennsylvania director-regulatory issues. "We challenge the big companies who will realize these reduced prices to pass them on, penny- for-penny, to all users of their long distance services."

Long distance companies claim they pass such savings along to their customers. In fact, much of the savings end up in the coffers of the companies themselves or are targeted to the most lucrative business customers. While the big companies claim they pass the savings along, average or small users are faced with long distance price hikes or minimum use charges.

The access charge reduction stems from a 1986 agreement with the PUC.

"This reduction is further evidence that the General Assembly and PUC have created a forward-looking, consumer-friendly regulatory environment in Pennsylvania," said Walker. "And consumers will benefit if the long distance companies pass through these savings to all their customers."

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With 43 million telephone access lines and nine 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 23 countries.

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