09.09.1998|Corporate

Bell Atlantic First to Offer 'Last-Mile' Link for Internet Calls

Bell Atlantic First to Offer 'Last-Mile' Link for Internet Calls

Company Strikes Agreement with ITXC

September 9, 1998

Media contact: Paul Miller, 804-772-1460

NEW YORK -- Under a recently signed agreement, Bell Atlantic expects to become the first regional phone company to provide a gateway service to carriers for the completion of phone calls made over Internet protocol (IP) data networks.

Bell Atlantic's first customer for this wholesale service is ITXC Corp. Subject to applicable FCC (Federal Communications Commission) approval, the company will begin providing ITXC with "last-mile" connections for international telephone calls coming into the New York City metropolitan area over the Internet later this year.

ITXC, whose name stands for "Internet Telephony eXchange Carrier," oversees the largest network of operators of Internet telephony gateways, and currently provides routing and clearinghouse services to carriers in that emerging industry.

"The evolution of telecommunications from a dial-tone business to data- tone is accelerating. Bell Atlantic is moving aggressively to establish a strong presence in this new industry ," said Tom Caldwell, vice president of marketing for Bell Atlantic Carrier Services. "Voice and data networks are rapidly converging. In the next five years Bell Atlantic expects Internet- based calls will nearly double every year."

"It is very important to our reseller customers, pre-paid calling card companies and ISPs (Internet service providers) to be able to offer their subscribers not only low prices, but good quality voice connections from anywhere in the world to anywhere else -- especially to markets such as New York," said Tom Evslin, ITXC's chairman and CEO. "This agreement with a premier provider like Bell Atlantic greatly enhances our ability to deliver on this requirement."

An IP telephony call can originate from a computer or a telephone through an originating gateway provided by the carrier. The gateways are computers that provide translation services between the traditional circuit- switched voice network and new IP data networks.

As a member of ITXC's WWeXchange network, the originating carrier hands the call over to ITXC. ITXC will then route all New York-bound calls over an IP network to Bell Atlantic. Bell Atlantic, in turn, translates the data call back to voice and sends it over its local network to the person being called. WWeXchange provides intermediary functions needed to link multiple networks.

"An IP/voice gateway service that facilitates last-mile connections is an excellent addition to Bell Atlantic's suite of products for the carriers we serve," Caldwell said. "We're actively discussing this service with other carriers, consortiums and clearinghouses. Over the coming months we expect to expand this capability throughout our northeast and mid-Atlantic regions."

Caldwell added that Bell Atlantic's wholesale gateway service may ultimately eliminate the need for carriers to build and operate their own facilities and provide access throughout the company's east coast region.

Bell Atlantic is rapidly evolving from a voice telecommunications company that carries data into a data company that also transports voice. The company is aggressively modernizing its network with the latest in data transmission and switching technology, including ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) and Internet protocol.

Bell Atlantic also is building state-of-the-art, next-generation data networks from the ground up, as it prepares to enter new markets such as long distance.

"Providing Internet telephony termination access services to ITXC today is a logical step on our road to the future," Caldwell said.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With more than 41 million telephone access lines and more than seven 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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