Bell Atlantic Launches Television Service to Single-Family Homes

Bell Atlantic Launches Television Service to Single-Family Homes in Washington, D.C. and New Jersey

Digital Programming from DIRECTV and USSB, Combined with Local Broadcast Channels, Provides One-Stop Alternative to Cable TV

September 14, 1998

Media contact: Larry Plumb, 212-395-0500 (Monday, 9/14)
703-295-4360 (9/15 and after)

RESTON, Va. -- More than five million households in Washington, D.C. and New Jersey can now subscribe to a new television service from Bell Atlantic featuring more than 200 available channels of programming from industry leaders DIRECTV, Inc.* and U.S. Satellite Broadcasting** (USSB)**. This offering combines digital satellite television with local broadcast channels for a complete, one-stop television service.

"Today homeowners in the Washington, D.C. area and across New Jersey have a genuine alternative to their cable company," said Dick Beville, president of Bell Atlantic Video. "Bell Atlantic -- a name that is synonymous with customer service and quality -- has combined the best in paid television with free over-the-air local channels, resulting in a superior television service."

See related release today from Bell Atlantic on television service to apartments, condominiums, co-ops and townhouses.

Satellite television has received an enormous amount of consumer interest over the past four years. In launching its new service, Bell Atlantic has capitalized on that consumer enthusiasm and, in addition, addressed an unmet market need by combining the digital-quality picture clarity and extensive programming choice of digital satellite television with one-stop shopping convenience and local channel reception.

Bell Atlantic's complete package includes:

  • Installation of a quality, tested off-air antenna -- at no additional charge -- to deliver clear local broadcast channels without a cable connection.

  • Rental option for set-top box -- eliminating up-front equipment costs. At $5.99 a month per set-top box, consumers can enjoy the technological advantages of a high-end digital set-top box and an 18-inch satellite dish without purchase and maintenance requirements.
  • Simplified ordering and billing -- consolidating programming package, sports subscription and pay per view charges from DIRECTV, premium movie and special event charges from USSB, and equipment fees into one, easy-to-read bill from Bell Atlantic Video.
  • Customer service from a leading telecommunications company 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"This is without question a new level of television service. This is what consumers have been asking for," Beville said. "Consumers told us they wanted more programming choices and easy equipment delivery and installation. They said they want simple, reliable customer service. Now they can get it all from one source -- Bell Atlantic, a company that is unsurpassed in customer care.

"Most importantly, they want competitive pricing," Beville said. "We invite comparison, because we're convinced that our offer can't be beat, especially when you consider that it provides one-stop shopping for television service, installed by the best technicians in the business." For a standard installation charge of $199, customers will receive:

  • Installation of an 18-inch satellite dish.
  • Installation of an advanced set-top receiver with remote control.
  • Installation of an antenna for analog and digital reception of local channels.

Bell Atlantic customers can choose any standard package offered by DIRECTV and USSB. For instance, the most popular DIRECTV Total Choice* package featuring 57 of the top channels and 31 commercial-free Music Choice channels is just $29.99 per month.

Bell Atlantic plans to offer this service to households in additional Northeast markets early next year.

DIRECTV is the nation's leading digital satellite television service with more than 3.9 million subscribers nationwide. The service offers access to more than 185 channels of digital entertainment, including popular networks such as CNN, Disney Channel, ESPN, and USA Network.

DIRECTV is the only digital TV service to offer an out-of-market pro football sports subscription featuring up to 13 pro football games every Sunday of the regular season. In addition, subscribers can select from as many as 55 pay per view movie choices a day for just $2.99 each when ordered by remote. This offers many more pay per view choices than typical cable systems.

USSB delivers the ultimate movie experience on TV** including famous brands such as HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, Sundance Channel, and more. For instance, a package of five channels of HBO is available for just $10.99 per month. Big Events** pay per view programming provides exclusive events such as boxing and concerts.

More information on the service is available at 1-888-379-2355 or at the Bell Atlantic World Wide Web site at www.bellatlantic.com/digitaltv.

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.

*DIRECTV and Total Choice are registered trademarks of DIRECTV, Inc., a unit of Hughes Electronics Corporation. The earnings of Hughes Electronics are used to calculate the earnings per share attributable to GMH (NYSE symbol) common stock. Visit DIRECTV on the World Wide Web at www.directv.com. **U.S. Satellite Broadcasting, USSB, the ultimate movie experience on TV, and Big Events are service marks of United States Satellite Broadcasting Co., Inc.


What Some People Think of Bell Atlantic's Television Service Integrating Satellite and Local Off-Air Programming:

"This is a real competitor to cable TV, and consumers ought to give this offering a close look."

Chuck Sherman
Executive Vice President
National Association of Broadcasters

"What do I think about it? I've already called Bell Atlantic for installation!"

James B. Hedlund
Association of Local Television Stations

"This could be a home run for Bell Atlantic. If it moves fast and takes advantage of the digital edge that DBS currently has over analog cable, this service should give the DBS industry a strong boost toward adding subscribers in record numbers. Our estimates indicate a year-end total DBS universe of nearly nine million subscribers."

Jimmy Schaeffler
Chairman and CEO
The Carmel Group

"I'm totally satisfied. It's remarkable -- the quality of the picture is just superior. The system is as easy to use as it was represented to be. The installation by Bell Atlantic was very professional, and the installer gave me plenty of hands-on training -- and gave me his phone number in case I had a problem."

Donald Turman
Herndon, Virginia

"I am really enjoying the service. The channel selection is great. I have everything I want. The installation process by Bell Atlantic was seamless. The installers were both courteous and professional."

Pat Yockachonis
Beach Haven, New Jersey

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