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Bell Atlantic Statement on Proposal to Reduce
Company Supports Significant Savings for Customers
January 20, 2000
BACKGROUND - Bell Atlantic, the West Virginia Public Service
Commission staff and Consumer Advocate Division today filed a proposal
with the Commission to reduce rates significantly for the company's more
than 600,000 West Virginia customers. The reductions will be funded
through the federal Universal Service Fund, which was established by the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure telephone service
remains affordable in rural states. The following response should be
attributed to Dennis Bone, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic - West
"We're delighted that we can offer real savings to our West Virginia
customers. We urge the Commission to approve this proposal, under
which all of our customers would receive a rate reduction, most seeing
their monthly local service rates drop by 16 percent or more.
"Bell Atlantic has built one of the nation's best telecommunications
networks in West Virginia, in spite of high construction costs due to our
state's mountainous terrain and widespread, largely rural population.
These high costs have resulted in some our rates being higher than in
surrounding states. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the FCC's
actions are helping to share rural states' high-cost burdens more evenly
across the country.
"With these changes, we can reduce rates and continue to work to
provide West Virginians with high-quality, affordable telecommunications