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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 1996
BELL ATLANTIC PRAISES CONGRESS ON PASSING
Chairman Smith urges President Clinton to Quickly Sign
Bill into Law
Arlington, VA -- Overwhelming votes in the U.S. House and Senate
pass sweeping telecommunications reform legislation signal an end to
Americans' long wait for the benefits of the Information Age, Bell
Atlantic executives said today.
"Congress is making it possible for millions of telecommunications
customers to enjoy affordable, immediate access to services that will
revolutionize our way of life in this country," said Raymond W.
chairman and CEO of Bell Atlantic. "The members understood clearly
pent-up public demand for these exciting new ways to communicate, and
we're optimistic that President Clinton will sign this vital bill
Smith added, "This landmark legislation will end Balkanization of
nation's communications industries. For the first time ever, Bell
Atlantic will be able to provide our customers the full range of
telecommunications services -- video, local service and long
The bill provides new rules of the road that will enable cable, long
distance and local companies to offer competing services to customers.
Bell Atlantic plans to begin breaking the oligopoly of AT&T, MCI and
Sprint by applying to sell long distance services beyond our
traditional service territory upon enactment of this bill. "We will
file to provide long distance service in five states within five days
of President Clinton's ink drying on this landmark legislation,"
James G. Cullen, Bell Atlantic vice chairman and a leader in the fight
for telecommunications reform. Additionally, Bell Atlantic plans to
immediately file applications to provide international long distance
service through Telecom New Zealand.
Cullen also promised that Bell Atlantic will begin to work immediately
with alternative providers of local telephone service to open the
local exchange telephone market.
Under the terms of the bill, Bell Atlantic will not be able to offer
long distance service within its territory until the company meets
requirements of a checklist in the bill and meets FCC rules which
still must be written.
"If the FCC rules are issued within six months, as the bill
Bell Atlantic will begin to offer long distance service within our
region in 12 to 15 months," Cullen said.
"Long distance service is a prime example of how this bill will give
consumers more choices and better service," said Cullen. "When
bill is signed into law, Americans will quickly begin to see a variety
of alternatives for all their communications needs from telephone
service to computer connections to video service."
Cullen noted that President Clinton promised to sign the
telecommunications reform bill in his recent State of the Union
"The President knows that all those with a stake in this bill worked
diligently to honor the spirit of compromise and to help achieve a
balanced approach to communications reform in this country," Cullen
said. "We urge him to make this legislation law as soon as it
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.
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