Bell Atlantic Signs Network Technology Agreements with Nortel Networks, Alcatel and Westell Technologies

Bell Atlantic Signs Network Technology Agreements with Nortel Networks, Alcatel and Westell Technologies

Agreements Provide Technology to Upgrade Bell Atlantic Network and Expand Voice and Data Services, Including Infospeedsm


April 8, 1999

Media contact: Mark Marchand, 518-396-1080

NEW YORK -- Bell Atlantic has signed five-year agreements with Nortel Networks and Alcatel, allowing the company to continue upgrading its network and to expand the availability of voice and data services.

In addition, Bell Atlantic has extended an existing agreement with Westell Technologies to continue providing DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) data products, including customer premises equipment for some customers who purchase Bell Atlantic's Infospeedsm DSL product. The Westell agreement extends the Bell Atlantic - Westell relationship for an additional five years.

These three agreements support Bell Atlantic's 1999 plan to make its high-speed Infospeed DSL service available in communities with about eight million households throughout the region served by the company. Bell Atlantic Infospeed DSL service is now available in parts of the Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas, as well as in the Hudson River waterfront communities in New Jersey. The company will deploy the service in the New York City and Boston areas this spring.

"These new contracts meet our objective of bringing the best technology and service to our customers in the most cost-effective manner," said Paul Lacouture, Bell Atlantic president for Network Services. "With these contracts signed, we will move forward with our aggressive plans to expand availability of our high-speed data products and to deploy more high-capacity capability in our network."

Under the agreements with Nortel and Alcatel, Bell Atlantic will spend about $1.3 billion over five years to acquire voice and data access hardware and software products, such as feature-rich fiber-optic systems known as Next Generation Digital Loop Carrier systems. The deployment of this mix of products positions Bell Atlantic to provide high-capacity data and voice services over its network.

Bell Atlantic employed a competitive bid process and negotiated with technology suppliers prior to reaching the agreements announced today. Following the competitive process, the company made its selections based on proposals that could best meet Bell Atlantic's total cost, quality, service and technology requirements.

Lacouture cited the following features of the contracts:

  • voice and data products and services available.

  • Bell Atlantic will be able to control or reduce network deployment costs, while continuing to serve customers with the best technology available.

  • The contracts contain provisions under which Bell Atlantic will regularly review the quality and cost of technology provided by the companies, and make adjustments in how much it spends with each company based on results of the reviews. Also, Bell Atlantic will conduct a marketplace review after the third year of the contracts, ensuring that the two suppliers continue to provide Bell Atlantic with a competitive advantage. Based on that review, Bell Atlantic could re-negotiate terms of these agreements.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With more than 42 million telephone access lines and 8.6 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.

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