West Virginia PSC Extends Innovative Regulatory Plan for Bell Atlantic
Three-Year Agreement Cuts Prices; Continues Company's Strong
Investment in Telecommunications Network
March 2, 1998
has extended an innovative regulatory plan for Bell Atlantic - West
Virginia that will reduce certain local phone service prices and
continue the company's strong investment in the state into the 21st
The company's Incentive Regulation Plan - the result of negotiations
between Bell Atlantic, the PSC staff and the Consumer Advocate
Division - will expire Jan. 1, 2001.
"The PSC's action will benefit our customers and state, as well as our
company and our 3,000 employees," said Dennis Bone, Bell Atlantic -
West Virginia president and CEO. "The Incentive Regulation Plan will
reduce prices for a variety of services by more than $6 million a
"This continues a string of price cuts that have occurred since Bell
Atlantic began operating under an incentive regulatory structure in
1988. These latest reductions will bring to $50 million the total
annual savings in basic service and regional toll charges our
customers will have realized over that time," said Bone.
In addition, the plan will give Bell Atlantic - West Virginia the
flexibility to respond to competition for telephone services. The
plan also will encourage continued investment to ensure that West
Virginians have access to the information superhighway.
"Bell Atlantic has built a state-of-the-art telecommunications network
in West Virginia, with a $1 billion investment over the past 10
years," said Bone. "That investment is helping West Virginia's
economic development efforts. Through the leadership of Bell Atlantic
and the State of West Virginia, dozens of employers - and 16,000 jobs
- have been attracted to the Mountain State through our Office of the
In other highlights of the Incentive Regulation Plan, Bell Atlantic
- Decrease several charges for businesses, including the one-time line
connection and order processing charges, as well as the monthly basic
service charges for Plan 2 business lines and trunks.
- Add a charge for bad checks and decrease the monthly directory
assistance free-call allowance for consumers from three to two.
- Expand the flat-rate portion of its consumer and business Community
Plus Caller Service for some telephone exchanges, eliminating existing
per-minute usage charges for certain calls. This will apply to
calling between Ripley and Spencer, Summersville and Richwood, and
Berkeley Springs and Hedgesville, for example.
- Extend the Bell Atlantic® WORLD SCHOOLsm program to include private
and parochial schools by Dec. 31, 1999. The WORLD SCHOOL program is a
broad educational technology initiative under which Bell Atlantic now
is providing direct, high-speed Internet access to all 677
kindergarten through twelfth-grade public schools in its West Virginia
service area. This direct connection - using digital frame relay
service - gives the state's students and teachers almost immediate
access to the Internet's vast learning resources, including electronic
books, museums and university libraries.
- Invest $20 million under the Bell Atlantic® WEST VIRGINIA 2001sm
program to build a next-generation, high-speed telecommunications
network in the Mountain State. A key component of the network will be
Bell Atlantic's asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) cell relay service.
ATM consolidates voice, data and video communications on a single
communications network at extremely high speeds, providing greater
capacity, flexibility and efficiency.
- Provide $5 million in grants and other initiatives to stimulate
participation in WORLD SCHOOL and WEST VIRGINIA 2001.
- Invest at least $225 million in its West Virginia network over the
three-year term of the plan.
Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX -
is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With 40.5 million telephone access lines and six 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.