Bell Atlantic Deploys Fiber Optics, New Equipment Bringing Advanced Technology, Services to Lehighton Area

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Bell Atlantic Deploys Fiber Optics, New
Equipment
Bringing Advanced Technology, Services
to Lehighton Area

Company Invests $850,000 to Expand, Upgrade
Local Telephone Network

July 6, 1999

Media
contact:

Ells Edwards,
302-576-5340
Sharon Shaffer,
215-963-6200

LEHIGHTON, Pa. -- Bell Atlantic has deployed a remote call-switching
facility in Lehighton as part of an $850,000 project to expand the local
telephone network and provide advanced telecommunications services to
its customers.

The newly-installed, advanced optical switching module routes calls to
their destinations and will help eliminate delays for customers who use
home computers to connect to the Internet. The new equipment also will
provide increased capacity in Bell Atlantic's telecommunications network
to serve the work-at-home market. Lehighton is located about 15 miles
southeast of Hazelton.

"This project is the latest evidence that Bell Atlantic is meeting our
commitment to deliver a state-of-the-art telecommunications network
throughout Pennsylvania," said Daniel J. Whelan, president of Bell
Atlantic - Pennsylvania. "We are accelerating our construction
schedules to provide rural and urban customers with high-speed access to
the Internet, work-at-home capabilities, as well as a host of other
innovative advanced services."

Whelan said Bell Atlantic has made major strides in deploying advanced
technology in its network:

  • Annual spending on the Pennsylvania network nearly doubled
    from $539 million in 1995 to more than $961 million in 1998.
  • Miles of fiber-optic cable in the commonwealth increased by 66
    percent from 474,450 in 1995 to 786,106 at the end of 1998.
  • Percentage of digital call-routing switches has grown from 90.3
    percent in 1995 to 96 percent at the end of 1998.
  • Bell Atlantic Infospeedsm DSL was launched in Pennsylvania last
    fall. Infospeed DSL is a high-speed, always-on Internet access
    services which enables consumers to connect to cyberspace at
    speeds up to 100 times faster than today's fastest analog modems.

"Bell Atlantic is keeping its promises to Pennsylvania,"
Whelan said. "We are building and enhancing a public
telecommunications network in Pennsylvania that is the finest in the world
and is a vital part of the commonwealth's economic infrastructure."

In addition to deploying the latest technology, Bell Atlantic has spent tens
of millions of dollars to open Pennsylvania's local telephone market to
competition.

"We have irreversibly opened our markets to competition,"
Whelan said. "We can't force the long distance giants or anyone else
to compete here, but anyone who genuinely wants to enter our markets can
do so."

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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