BOSTON -- Massachusetts consumers and businesses are served by one
of the most advanced telecommunications networks in the country, thanks
to an aggressive network investment program Bell Atlantic continued
during 1999. The company spent about $710 million to modernize,
expand and upgrade the vast telecommunications network that serves the
"As this decade ends, we are proud of our critical role in assuring
that Massachusetts continues to have one of the nation's most advanced
telecommunications networks," said Bell Atlantic Massachusetts
Vice President Robert Mudge. "This infrastructure will help our
state, its businesses, schools, and consumers to succeed in the new
The funds were used primarily to expand the company's fiber--optic
facilities. Bell Atlantic's 274 call--routing centers throughout the state
already use the latest digital technology systems.
Bell Atlantic added 40,000 miles of fiber--optic cable in Massachusetts,
bringing the state's overall fiber--optic network to about 600,000 miles --
or enough to circle the Earth 24 times. Fiber--optic systems use laser--
generated light pulses and digital technology to provide greater capacity,
higher transmission speeds and better quality for voice, video and data
transmitted over the network.
Bell Atlantic has aggressively opened the local telephone market in
Massachusetts, investing in advanced computer systems and centers to
serve wholesale customers. Bell Atlantic has led the nation in opening
local telephone markets and satisfying the requirements of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996. On Dec. 22, the Federal
Communications Commission approved Bell Atlantic's appl-ication to sell
long distance in New York, making it the first regional Bell company
allowed to sell long distance in its home region.
In Massachusetts, at least 68 competitors ---- including MediaOne and the
three major long--distance companies ---- have entered the market and
now sell local phone service over 450,000 phone lines. Through some
850 collocation arrangements, competitors have access to about 80 percent
of the residence customers and 90 percent of the business customers in
In May, Bell Atlantic filed 15,000 pages of documents demonstrating to
Massachusetts regulators that the company's local network is irreversibly
open to competitors and that Bell Atlantic has met all requirements to
provide long--distance service in the state. The state Department of
Telecommunications and Energy is currently reviewing the filing.
"We hope that by the end of next year we'll have approval to offer
Massachusetts consumers innovative long--distance products and services
that give them our best rate all the time," Mudge said.
Mudge noted other milestones the company achieved in Massachusetts
- Bell Atlantic introduced its high--speed Internet access service,
InfospeedSM DSL in the Greater Boston area. Infospeed DSL provides an
always--on connection to the Internet with no dialing, no busy signals and
- The company introduced National 4--1--1 directory assistance
service in Massachusetts, offering callers a simple way to obtain accurate
listings anywhere in the nation at affordable prices. In November, Bell
Atlantic extended its streak of meeting or exceeding the state's stringent
service measurements to 51 consecutive months.
- For the third consecutive year, the Bell Atlantic Foundation
provided more than $500,000 in grants for school--to--career initiatives
that creatively use technology in education. This year, 20 grants benefited
organizations representing 48 Massachusetts communities.
- Hired about 200 additional union--represented employees, bringing
the company's total full--time employment in the state to 18,200. Bell
Atlantic continues to be the largest private employer in the state.
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With more than 43 million telephone access lines and more than 10
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