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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 1996
SPECIAL PROGRESS RELEASE:
BELL ATLANTIC DELIVERS INFORMATION AGE IN WEST
CHARLESTON, W.VA. - Bell Atlantic stepped up its pace to deliver
Information Age to West Virginians in 1995 - upgrading its
telecommunications network, introducing new services and leveraging
advanced technology to improve the state's educational and economic
"Bell Atlantic is the premier communications company in West
Virginia," said Dennis Bone, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic-West
Virginia, Inc. "We back that up with substantial investments in
hardware, software and human resources that allow Bell Atlantic to
offer consumers and businesses the very latest telecommunications
services at affordable rates."
Bell Atlantic faced increasing competition in virtually every facet of
its business in 1995, as companies stepped up their marketing efforts
to provide long-distance services within regional calling areas and
published competing telephone directories in several new communities.
An industry task force spent much of the year discussing the
establishment of rules governing local phone service competition.
In addition, landmark federal legislation passed and signed into law
earlier this year will open up all communications markets - local and
long-distance phone services, as well as cable television services.
"Bell Atlantic will work hard to meet the new law's requirement that
we open up our local telecommunications network for competition,"
Bone. "Doing so will allow us to offer consumers a full menu of
and long-distance services, something we're prevented from doing
During 1995 Bell Atlantic implemented rate reductions totaling
approximately $20.7 million. Residential rates for Bell
Atlantic-carried long-distance calls within regional calling areas
were cut by an average of 18 percent, Touch Tone service was cut by 33
percent, prices for two local service plans were reduced and mileage
charges for rural customers were eliminated.
These cuts, combined with prior years' price reductions, will save
Bell Atlantic's West Virginia customers more than $35 million a year
by the end of 1998. In fact, prices for local service and Bell
Atlantic-carried long-distance calls will have decreased or remained
stable from 1985 through early 1998 - nearly 13 years. And, when
taking into account the consumer price index, the company's effective
rate for local service has decreased by approximately 36 percent.
Last year was a record year for Bell Atlantic in the growth of
telephone access lines in West Virginia. The company added 20,020
lines, a 2.6 percent increase over 1994, with growth in both the
consumer and business markets.
The surge in popularity of "cyberspace" -- on-line services
Internet -- drove a strong demand for additional home telephone lines
to link to those services using modems. Late last year, Bell Atlantic
began to offer ISDN [Integrated Services Digital Network] service to
residential consumers throughout the state. ISDN, which can carry
voice, data or video signals simultaneously over the same copper phone
line, will allow consumers to cruise the Internet at speeds much
higher than traditional analog modems.
Bell Atlantic last year continued to enhance its advanced
telecommunications network in West Virginia. The company placed more
than 12,000 circuit miles of high-quality, high-speed fiber-optic
cable, bringing the total circuit miles of fiber optics in Bell
Atlantic's West Virginia telecommunications network to more than
110,000. Bell Atlantic invested $88 million in 1995, and more than
$1.2 billion since 1984, in its West Virginia network.
Bell Atlantic is installing a number of fiber-optic synchronous
optical network [SONET]-based "rings"" in West Virginia's
cities. These SONET rings offer major customers seamless, survivable
telecommunications. That is, if a cable is accidentally cut,
telecommunications traffic is re-routed automatically in a different
direction on the ring to ensure that a customer's service isn't
Bell Atlantic introduced a number of innovative products and services
for West Virginia customers last year, including:
- Caller ID Deluxe, which allows a person to see the telephone
and associated billing name of an incoming call before picking up
- Call Waiting ID, which provides Caller ID Deluxe capabilities on
incoming calls to a customer with Call Waiting service.
- Frame Relay service, a digital, high-speed data communications
- Centrex CustoFLEX, which offers small business customers a number
of cost-effective calling features.
Telecommunications, education and health
Bell Atlantic is a leader in applying telecommunications technology to
help meet challenges in areas critical to West Virginia, such as
education, health care and economic development. In 1995, Bell
Atlantic accelerated its efforts to link the state's kindergarten
through twelfth-grade public schools to the Internet as part of the
Bell Atlantic® WORLD SCHOOL(sm) program. With
nearly 200 schools now
on-line, the company intends to make WORLD SCHOOL available to all
K-12 public schools in its West Virginia service area by the end of
The company also has awarded $85,000 in WORLD SCHOOL grants to
teachers who are incorporating technology into their curriculum. In
addition, Bell Atlantic has funded the WORLD SCHOOL Grant Program for
another $100,000 in 1996.
In the area of health care, Bell Atlantic has established the $200,000
HEALTH CONNECT Grant Program. Under the program, Bell Atlantic will
support innovative projects that incorporate technology to help
improve health care. The first $50,000 grant, to Partners in Health
Network, Inc., was made March 6.
Office of the Future successes
Bell Atlantic's partnership with the State of West Virginia in the
Office of the Future project had a banner year in 1995, recruiting five
businesses -- and nearly 2,000 jobs -- to the state. The Office of the
Future builds on the state's advanced telecommunications infrastructure
to recruit world-class employers who rely heavily on processing or
transferring information. Since its inception in 1990, the Office of
the Future partnership has been involved in the creation of more than
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.
for more information, contact:
- Harry Mitchell, 304-344-7562