Bell Atlantic-Vermont, Public Service Department Agree on Price Regulation Plan

Bell Atlantic-Vermont, Public Service Department Agree on Price Regulation Plan

Schools, Public Libraries to be Wired

January 21, 1998

Media contacts: Joan Jamieson

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Bell Atlantic customers in Vermont will pay less for in-state long distance calls to locations 25 or more miles away and basic rates will be capped under an agreement filed late Monday by the Vermont Department of Public Service and Bell Atlantic-Vermont.

Under the agreement, which must be approved by the Public Service Board, every public and private elementary school, middle school and public library served by Bell Atlantic in Vermont will be given a free telephone line. High schools and vocational technical centers will receive high speed data lines.

"The Price Regulation Plan will reduce in-state toll rates in Vermont while protecting our residential customers from increases in their basic phone rate for three years," said Louise McCarren, Bell Atlantic-Vermont president and chief executive officer. "At the same time, the plan gives us the pricing flexibility we need to vie for customers in Vermont's increasingly competitive marketplace."

To help the schools maximize their use of telecommunications, the agreement provides funding for three full-time employees at the Vermont Institute of Science, Mathematics and Technology to provide teacher training.

The plan also includes stringent service quality measurements that, if not met, will result in further price reductions.

If approved, the proposed Price Regulation Plan will be effective July 1 through July 1, 2001.

Highlights of the Bell Atlantic/Department of Public Service Plan

In-State Long Distance toll bands for 25-30 miles, 31-55 miles and 56 or more miles all reduced to rates for 19-24 miles (day rates, as high as 33¢ for the first minute and 31¢ for each additional minute, would be reduced to 27¢ for the first minute, 25¢ for each additional minute; evening rates, as high as 24.3¢ for the first minute and 22.3¢ for each additional minute, would be reduced to 20¢ for the first minute, 18¢ for each additional minute; night and weekend rates, as high as 15.3¢ for the first minute and 13.3¢ for each additional minute, would be reduced to 12.8¢ for the first minute, 10.8¢ for each additional minute)

Educational Commitment:

  • High speed data access to every high school and vocational technical center in Bell Atlantic's Vermont territory
  • Free business phone line to every elementary school, middle school and public library in Bell Atlantic's Vermont territory
  • Three full time employees at the Vermont Institute of Science, Mathematics and Technology to train teachers in technology and the use of telecommunications services

Price Caps:
  • No price increases for residential basic phone service, special access, residence non-published & non-listed services and wireless interconnection services
  • 2 percent annual cap on price increases for business basic phone service, residential and business usage charges, payphone service (prices we charge to the payphone providers to bring dial tone to their payphones) and business non-published & non-listed services
  • No restrictions on price changes for all other tariffed services

Carrier Access prices reduced by 1¢ (the per-minute price long distance carriers pay to have us carry their calls across our local network)

Service Quality:

  • 11 service quality performance areas measured with a penalty/reward point system that can result in revenue adjustments by raising or lowering of prices based on a Price Regulation Index formula (Inflation - Productivity factor +/- Service Quality points)
  • When installation appointments are missed, customers will get a credit equal to the installation charge for basic service. When a customer is out of service more than 48 hours, customers will get credit for one month's basic dial tone rate.

Productivity factor of 3.75 percent

Special contracts negotiated with customers will meet Public Service Board requirements for fair competition and will take effect 15 days after being filed.

Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications, information and entertainment industry. With 40 million telephone access lines and 5.8 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 21 countries.

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