WASHINGTON, D.C. — Bell Atlantic and NYNEX are playing a major role in next week's Presidents' Summit for America's Future by providing $1.6 million in communications products and services, training, and direct support to attendees.
The announcement was made today at a press briefing with General Chairman of the Summit, Gen. Colin Powell (Ret.), NYNEX President Don Reed, and Vice President of Bell Atlantic Corporate Communications Patrick Coulter. As part of this donation, each of the companies' foundations presented Powell with checks for $300,000.
In addition to the checks presented to Powell today, the companies together are donating an additional $1 million in products and services, including the development and continuing operation of a web site, Internet training for delegates, cellular phones, cellular airtime, pagers and laptop computers.
The two companies are the primary providers of telecommunications services and equipment to the summit.
"Through their joint generosity, Bell Atlantic and NYNEX have made an extraordinary and exemplary contribution to the success of the summit and to the successful implementation of the summit's goals over the next four years," said Gen. Powell. "The companies' gifts to us -- in cash, in kind, and in services -- will not only enable our summit participants to communicate clearly with each other and with concerned citizens around the country, they will enable us to reach out more widely and effectively to the public we want to reach most -- the kids who need our help."
The summit, which takes place in Philadelphia April 27-29, kicks off a national campaign to renew the spirit of volunteerism, especially targeting America's youth.
"We are finding new ways to enable our companies and employees to give back to the communities we serve, and we're beginning by creating for the summit the best communications infrastructure available today," said Reed. "Our cellular unit, Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile, and the Internet Solutions group have made a tremendous commitment to support the technological needs of the summit."
At the center of the Bell Atlantic and NYNEX communications initiative is an interactive web site -- www.americaspromise.org. The site creates "digital neighborhoods" enabling people to share problems and solutions across town or across the country.
"Bell Atlantic and NYNEX are committed to maintaining and developing this site to bring together individuals and companies with organizations that provide critical services to kids who need help," said Coulter. "The Internet technologies launched this week will enable delegates to receive input and share ideas long after they've returned home."
Wireless to Play Unique Role
Trained volunteers will work with summit delegates to draw up community action plans on 196 laptop computers, distributed by Bell Atlantic and NYNEX. Of these, 40 are equipped with a wireless modem. Action plans will be sent through the modems to the summit web site. Delegates and anyone with an Internet connection can review and comment on these plans, including people who are watching the summit from back home.
The companies are also providing 90 cellular phones, 70 of them digital, with four-line displays that can receive text messages. This feature enables summit staff to communicate with delegates quickly and efficiently. Cellular airtime is also being donated by the companies. Bell Atlantic NYNEX Mobile has installed a microcell inside the convention center that will handle all of the summit's wireless communications needs.
Voice services are being provided through a Bell Atlantic Centrex system that includes 500 telephone lines at the convention center and 300 lines at Philadelphia's Independence Hall.
The companies have built a state-of-the-art data network that connects PCs located throughout the Pennsylvania Convention Center with the Internet. In addition, the companies are providing easy access to summit information and the Internet with PCs located at 12 kiosks around the hall, and in the Internet Resource Center, where there are 25 computers. At the Internet Resource Center Bell Atlantic and NYNEX are sponsoring Internet training provided by HandsNet, a leader in the area of instructing not-for-profit organizations on the Internet and PC applications.
The companies are also sponsoring the summit participation of 14 not-for-profit agencies that, with Bell Atlantic and NYNEX funding, have developed leading-edge, Internet-based communication and information systems. The companies have invited these groups to Philadelphia to share what they've learned with summit attendees.
Bell Atlantic and NYNEX have announced plans to merge, pending regulatory approvals. The combined corporation will serve 39 million telephone access lines in 13 states and more than four million cellular customers. Shareowners of both companies overwhelmingly approved the merger at special meetings in November 1996.