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Bell Atlantic Links Inaugural Events to Global Audiences
January 17, 1997
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- From the steps of the U.S. Capitol
to the top of
the Washington monument, Bell Atlantic employees are working around
the clock to provide the planners and participants of President
Clinton's second inauguration with communications technology to make
the event safer, grander and accessible to millions of people.
The company assembled an able team of over 100 consultants,
engineers, technicians and other professionals to handle the thousands
of requests for telecommunications service that pour in from the
military, news media, Secret Service, Presidential Inaugural Committee
and others prior to the inauguration. Without these services, vital
communications would be lost, security would be compromised and the
news media would not be able to file their stories quickly or provide
world-wide, on-the-spot coverage.
To date, Bell Atlantic has installed over 1600 analog and Centrex
voice-grade lines, 40 ISDN [integrated services digital network
lines, 190 video circuits and 17 high-capacity circuits. Most of
this service was installed in outdoor locations, such as the U.S.
Capitol grounds, the Mall, Lafayette Park or along the planned parade
route. This required special planning, including surveying
locations, choosing the appropriate facilities, and developing unique
engineering designs to ensure service works properly.
Unusual Service Requests
"One of our most unusual requests was from the Grucci family,"
Bell Atlantic's Inauguration Communications Project Manager Kathy
Rhodes. The Gruccis--well-known for their fireworks displays--will be
setting off fireworks simultaneously from 10 locations across the city
for what is being billed as the largest fireworks display in U.S.
history. "All of the locations, like parks, golf courses and
lots, are somewhat isolated because of safety concerns. Yet we ran
thousands-of-feet of cable through trees and across fields to provide
two lines at each site," Rhodes said. The Gruccis will set up a
conference call to communicate with each other.
"Every request is different, and some are challenging and
she added. "But the inauguration is all about meeting the needs of
our customers. A project like this provides the opportunity for a
lot of people to show initiative and creativity."
Meeting the Needs of Broadcasters
"Our technicians also pulled cable 580 feet straight up to the top
the Washington Monument so that television stations could broadcast
from the top of the structure," Rhodes said. She explained that
television broadcasts of the inauguration will be fed from
approximately 40 remote locations--like Union Station, the Convention
Center and the National Air and Space Museum--through Bell Atlantic's
Audio Visual Operations Center at 730 12th Street, N.W. There,
technicians will constantly monitor the video feed to ensure absolute
top-notch service and picture quality. Bell Atlantic is installing a
combination of fiber-optic and coaxial cable across the city to
guarantee television viewers can watch events as they happen.
Service Begins with Proper Planning
Inaugurations historically require thousands of hours worth of
preparation for Bell Atlantic. In order to meet the unique needs of
everyone requiring service, the company has to create a telephone
company within a telephone company. It establishes separate
interdepartmental organizations, service order procedures, billing
streams and marketing groups to provide a seamless coordination of
"Due to the proactive approach we took in designing and constructing
our network, we were able to meet every single request for service--no
matter how unusual," said Rhodes. "That's never been done
When the events are over, the work doesn't stop for the company.
Equipment like terminals and cables have to be removed from trees,
poles and street corners. "What took five weeks to install must be
removed in a day," Rhodes said. "Cables have to be cut, coiled
removed, and 300 cable ramps must be collected and hauled away."
Bell Atlantic Corp. (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.