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January 16, 1996
TEST OF BELL ATLANTIC'S DOVER TOWNSHIP
VIDEO DIALTONE NETWORK ENTERS FINAL PHASE
Volunteers testing interactive features
prior to commercial deployment
DOVER TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- Two hundred Information Age pioneers are
beginning the final phase in testing the nation's first all-digital video
dialtone [VDT] network, which Bell Atlantic is building in Dover
Township. These volunteers will sample some of the network's interactive
capabilities during the second half of an eight-week test designed to
stress various components of the VDT system.
Video programmers will be able to start selling services such as
entertainment programming using Bell Atlantic's VDT system upon
successful completion of this test. Ultimately, the system will be
available to 38,000 homes and businesses throughout Dover Township.
"The first phase of the test has been very successful," said
Michael Losch, Bell Atlantic-New Jersey director-external affairs.
"The VDT network is performing well, and we've tested a number of
support processes, such as service order and installation services."
Volunteers have tested the system's ability to handle simultaneous
performing of the same function by every participant. These functions
have included surfing up and down channels and the resetting of digital
set-top boxes after they have been turned off.
"Our volunteers are providing us with valuable insight into what
they like about the network and what could be improved," said Losch.
The quality of the picture carried over the VDT system has impressed
Dover Township resident Steve Moore and his family. "My son enjoys
watching the music channels. He says the picture and sound are much
better than with our current cable TV service," said Moore.
Test participants have been watching a sampling of video programming
transmitted over Bell Atlantic's VDT network since mid-December.
Programming for the test is being provided by FutureVision, one of seven
video information providers who have reserved capacity on the 384-channel
Dover Township system.
In the test's second phase, participants will be able to view additional
channels, and they'll perform some basic interactive functions, such as
using their remote controls for on-screen ordering of movies and premium
channels. They'll also be able to use a "recipe-on-request"
service from the TV Food Network, part of FutureVision's expanded sample
of programming for the second phase.
"The interactive features we'll test in this next phase just scratch
the surface of the applications possible using the interactive broadcast
text messaging capabilities of our network," said Losch.
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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