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Bell Atlantic - New Jersey Offers Bill in Braille

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Bell Atlantic -- New Jersey Offers Bills in Braille

Special Bills Help Blind Customers in New Jersey

July 14, 1998

Media contact:

Tim Ireland,

NEWARK, N.J. -- Customers of Bell Atlantic -- New Jersey now can
receive their phone bills in Braille.

"These special bills will make life a little easier for customers who are
blind," said Bruce Gordon, Bell Atlantic group president for retail services.
"Bell Atlantic believes the customer should decide the best and easiest way
to do business with us."

Gordon said the special bills are part of Bell Atlantic's commitment to
adopt universal design principles. "We want to ensure that all our
telecommunications services are more accessible and more widely available
to a broad range of diverse users, including individuals with disabilities.
People with disabilities are important customers to us," he said.

Customers in New Jersey who wish to receive bills in Braille should
contact their local Bell Atlantic business office.

According to William M. Freeman, Bell Atlantic -- New Jersey president
and CEO, the company is working with local government agencies and
advocacy organizations to distribute sample bills and application forms.

"We have a long-standing relationship in New Jersey with the blind
community as well as other advocates for persons with disabilities of all
types. Those connections will help us reach these special customers,"
Freeman said.

Later this year, Bell Atlantic also plans to offer bills in large print for New
Jersey customers with visual disabilities.

In 1997, Bell Atlantic established a series of universal design principles to
ensure that the corporation:

  • Provides quality services that can reasonably accommodate a broad
    range of diverse customers, including individuals with disabilities;

  • Goes beyond its responsibilities under the Americans With
    Disabilities Act to review existing services to determine which ones
    need to be more accessible;

  • Designs and develops new services to be accessible to a broad
    range of diverse customers;

  • Employs these universal design principles company-wide and
    through its relationships with customers, employees, shareowners
    and suppliers. Bell Atlantic encourages other companies to adopt
    these principles.

In addition, Bell Atlantic last week pledged to become the first local
telephone company in the continental United States to provide 7-1-1
service for deaf and hard of hearing customers throughout its service area.
With 7-1-1 service, customers will be able to dial only three digits to send
text messages over regular phone lines using the Telecommunications
Relay Service.

Bell Atlantic -- formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX --
is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry.
With more than 41 million telephone access lines and 6.7 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.