Bell Atlantic Responds to PUC Approval of Plan For Test of Company's Operating Support Systems

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Bell Atlantic Responds to PUC Approval of
Plan For Test of Company's Operating Support
Systems

Testing Process Another Step toward Full
Telecommunications Competition

May 3, 1999

Media
contact:

Sharon Shaffer,
215-963-6200 or 412-633-5574
Harry Mitchell,
304-344-7562

BACKGROUND -- To demonstrate that it is meeting the requirements of
the Telecommunications Act to make its local network available to
competitors, Bell Atlantic - Pennsylvania has agreed to a independent,
third-party test of its operating support systems. The Pennsylvania Public
Utility Commission (PUC) has accepted the draft plan that will govern the
test of the systems, which enable Bell Atlantic to process orders from
competitors for customers who are switching their phone service from Bell
Atlantic to a competitor. The PUC also denied a petition from several
competitors that would have delayed the test until after a formal, litigated
process. The following response should be attributed to Daniel J. Whelan,
president and CEO of Bell Atlantic - Pennsylvania

We welcome this independent test of our operating support systems. This
is a positive step toward full competition in all telecommunications
markets in Pennsylvania -- local and long distance. We're pleased that the
commission is proceeding to establish a testing process despite attempts
by our competitors to further delay matters through additional, needless
hearings.

We have processed orders for more than 90,000 lines that our competitors
are reselling under their own brands, and another 34,000-plus unbundled
loops, or portions of our network that competitors lease and link to their
own facilities. We're confident that a thorough test by an independent
entity will confirm the quality of the work we have done in this area. Bell
Atlantic has invested $1 billion and dedicated hundreds of employees to
set up these systems for competitors across our service area.

A full test of Bell Atlantic's support systems in New York showed that we
are able to process orders successfully, even under extreme demands by
our competing customers and the firm conducting the test, KPMG Peat
Marwick.

The New York test has moved that state's citizens closer to the day when
they will have more choice for all their communications services --
including local and long distance. This test of our facilities will do the
same for Pennsylvanians.

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