BELL ATLANTIC EXCEEDS COMMITMENT TO DEPLOY LATEST TECHNOLOGY TO PENNSYLVANIA CUSTOMERS
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 1996
BELL ATLANTIC EXCEEDS COMMITMENT TO DEPLOY LATEST
TECHNOLOGY TO PENNSYLVANIA CUSTOMERS
Progress Report Given At Senate Hearing
Harrisburg, PA -- Pennsylvania telephone customers
have saved $7
million because of rate cuts, while at the same time Bell
Atlantic-Pennsylvania has continued to add the latest technology to
the local telephone network, William Mitchell, vice president external
affairs, told a Senate committee reviewing the impact of regulatory
The committee is reviewing the impact of changes in regulations
governing Bell Atlantic-Pennsylvania approved by the Pennsylvania Public
Commission (PUC) in 1994.
"Bell Atlantic has made significant progress in deploying a
universally available broadband network in urban, suburban and rural
parts of the state," said Mitchell. "We have met our
the first phase of the evolutionary process of modernizing and
upgrading our telecommunications network."
Although the first update to the PUC on network modernization isn't
due until June, Mitchell appeared today before the Senate Consumer
Protection and Professional Licensure Committee with a report on the
company's significant progress. He described the long and arduous
30-month process of moving from an out-moded regulatory structure to a
progressive framework that accommodates the competitive and
technological explosion occurring in the telecommunications industry.
He told the committee Bell Atlantic completed deployment of
intelligent signaling in its network in 1994, the initial step in the
evolution of a full service network. This signaling gives Bell
Atlantic-Pennsylvania customers access to advanced calling functions
and lays the foundation for additional intelligent network services.
The second phase in the network modernization is digital switching
capability, which Bell Atlantic continues to deploy in the state. To
date, approximately 75 percent of Bell Atlantic's telephone lines in
Pennsylvania have digital switching capability. A vast majority of the
rural and suburban customers now are served by digital technology.
The remaining analog switches are located primarily in urban areas
and will be converted to digital by the turn of the century.
In 1995, the company made Integrated Services Digital Network
capabilities available to its Pennsylvania customers, five years ahead
of its year 2000 commitment. This service provides tremendous
benefits to residence and business customers. Over an existing copper
phone line, a consumer can access computer data at speeds over eight
times faster than an average modem. A customer can hold a voice
conversation and manage an interactive data session on their personal
computer, using one telephone line. With additional software, ISDN
allows for cost-efficient, desk-top video conference capability-now
available throughout Bell Atlantic's service area in Pennsylvania.
The third phase of Bell Atlantic's network modernization includes
further deployment of fiber-optics to fulfill the company's commitment
to convert 20 percent of its urban, suburban and rural lines to
broadband capability by 1998 and to the entire state by 2015. This
conversion is essential to ensure all consumers have access to
broadband services. Bell Atlantic has deployed more than 560,000
fiber miles to date in the commonwealth. Since 1993, Bell Atlantic
has increased deployment of fiber optic miles by 55 percent.
Consistent with the company's role as a corporate citizen, Bell
Atlantic has made significant progress in its commitment to make
fiber optics available to health care facilities, public schools and
industrial parks-15 years sooner than required by state law.
In the final phase of the evolution to a full service network,
Mitchell said Bell Atlantic will make the network available to every
consumer in its Pennsylvania service area. In fact, Bell Atlantic
already has made significant progress in making the broadband network
available to urban, suburban and business customers.
This year, Bell Atlantic customers in urban, suburban and rural areas
of Southeastern Pennsylvania will benefit from the latest technology
when the company begins upgrading its existing telecommunications
network with fiber-optic facilities and electronics that will provide
higher quality and more reliable voice and digital data services. The
company will add video and interactive multimedia capabilities in
early 1997. This full service network will offer consumers many
exciting opportunities such as high-speed data connections to the
Internet, online services and local area networks, video-on-demand and
interactive multi-media services. This initiative in Southeastern
Pennsylvania, along with the others, will enable us to exceed the
1998 broadband deployment commitment providing Information Age
benefits to many of our Pennsylvania customers.
Mitchell also reported on Bell Atlantic's ongoing commitment to
communities in Pennsylvania. He described various economic
development initiatives that will bring jobs to Pennsylvania, more
than $2 million in grants to libraries and schools to bring the latest
technology to communities and classrooms, and grants to medical
centers like Geisinger and Hershey to ensure quality health care
services are accessible to people in rural areas.
"We're dedicated to making sure technology empowers all - urban and
rural school children, those in need of job skills, the elderly and
the disabled. We're making it work for everyone," Mitchell said.
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.
- Sharon Shaffer, 215-963-6200
Shirley Risoldi, 412-633-5574