FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 1996size = +1>
BELL ATLANTIC OFFERS PLAN FOR AFFORDABLE INTERNET ACCESS
FOR SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES
Arlington, VA -- Access to the Internet and the
superhighway for millions of Americans would be paid for through a
small surcharge on telephone bills under a plan proposed this week by
Schools and libraries across the country could become communications
hubs offering high-speed phone lines and other communications services
so that students and the public can use computers to go
Bell Atlantic's proposal, filed with the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC), calls for all telecommunications customers to help
pay for these services through a monthly charge of 25 to 35 cents.
"This is the fastest, fairest and least expensive way to give
access to the Information Superhighway," said "http://www.ba.com/homes/eyoung.html">Edward D. Young III,
Bell Atlantic vice president and associate general counsel. "Our
ensures that people from all walks of life will be able to use this
wonderful global information resource."
Under the plan, telecommunications providers such as Bell Atlantic
would collect a surcharge and send the money to a national support
fund. The amount collected, would depend on whether schools elected
to use centralized computer labs or bring computer lines into each
classroom, which would be more expensive.
The support fund would disperse the money to designated trustees, such
as a state's Department of Education. To receive funding, K-12
schools and libraries would submit a proposal to their state trustee.
Their plans would have to meet minimum criteria established by the FCC
and a federal/state joint board, designated to set universal service
policy. These proposals would need to include training for teachers
and librarians, and seminars for the community on using the Internet.
In addition, schools would have to outline how they will acquire
computers, curricular software and other materials needed to support
at least a computer lab. The trustee would distribute the funds to
state schools and libraries after the trustee approves their plans.
Schools and libraries would then use the money to pay for the
installation and monthly costs of the telecommunications services.
They would also be free to use any authorized telecommunications
"Teachers and librarians often let us know how important it is for
Bell Atlantic to offer an affordable pipeline to the Internet,"
said. "Our plan responds to them."
Bell Atlantic submitted its plan as part of reply comments filed in
the FCC's Universal Service proceeding.
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.