FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 1996
ARLINGTON, VA. -- Bell Atlantic Corp. [NYSE: BEL] has selected Lucent Technologies Inc. [NYSE: LU] as a supplier of key network components for Bell Atlantic's initial Full Service Network deployment in the mid-Atlantic region. Bell Atlantic's investment under the contract could reach several hundred million dollars over a six-and-one-half-year period.
Later this year, Bell Atlantic will begin installing fiber-optic facilities and electronics to replace the predominantly copper cables between its telephone switching offices and customers. Fiber-optics provide higher quality and more reliable telephone services at lower operating and maintenance costs. The company plans to add digital video broadcast capabilities to this "fiber-to-the-curb," switched broadband network by the third quarter of 1997, and broadband Internet access, data communications and interactive multimedia capabilities in late 1997 or early 1998.
"We began installing high-capacity, high-quality fiber optics more than a decade ago, and we currently have more than 2.2 million fiber miles linking switching offices and key points in our network,"" said Lawrence T. Babbio, Jr., Bell Atlantic vice chairman. "Pushing fiber optics closer to consumers and small businesses will allow us to provide superior quality and great customer service, while simultaneously allowing us to reduce our expenses significantly.
"We also will be able to more quickly meet our customers' demands for a variety of new services -- including additional phone lines, high-speed data connections to on-line services and the Internet, and video and interactive services. A wide range of content providers -- including Bell Atlantic Video Services, which will work with our programming and systems venture TELE-TV -- are expected to supply a variety of interactive multimedia services for this platform."
Lucent Technologies will supply the local network hardware and software components required between Bell Atlantic's switching offices and customers' homes or small businesses. BroadBand Technologies [NASDAQ: BBTK] of Research Triangle Park, N.C., will work with Lucent Technologies, providing switched broadband network components.
Bell Atlantic will be the systems integrator for its Full Service Network.
The fiber-to-the-curb architecture that Bell Atlantic will build is the next step in the company's ongoing, aggressive network modernization program. Bell Atlantic's network infrastructure includes digital switching covering more than 90 percent of the company's service area, as well as widely available advanced calling features and high-speed data communications services such as ISDN [Integrated Services Digital Network]. In addition, the company's switched broadband network in Dover Township, N.J. -- the first commercial video dialtone network in the country -- allows a video programmer, FutureVision, to offer digital broadcast services in competition with the local cable television company.
Bell Atlantic plans to begin its network upgrade in Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania later this year. The company plans to expand this Full Service Network deployment to other key markets over the next three years. Ultimately, Bell Atlantic expects to serve most of the 12 million homes and small businesses across the mid-Atlantic region with switched broadband networks.
Lucent Technologies will provide the SLC*-2000 Access System with FLX** Switched Digital Video. This system includes voice, data, video and power components provided by Lucent Technologies and BroadBand Technologies.
"We are delighted to support Bell Atlantic's network modernization program," said Gerry Butters, president of Network Systems' North American Region of Lucent Technologies. "The investment by Bell Atlantic in the switched broadband platform demonstrates its commitment to provide a full complement of integrated, innovative communications services to meet the needs of customers today and into the future."
"BroadBand Technologies is pleased to provide a critical technology that will help deliver a rich array of services to Bell Atlantic customers," said Salim A.L. Bhatia, president and CEO of BroadBand Technologies. "By deploying the comprehensive transport and switching platform from Lucent and BroadBand Technologies in the local loop, Bell Atlantic can respond quickly to customers' demands for additional telephone lines today. In addition, it can prepare for the delivery of broadband Internet access, video and other interactive services in the coming months."
Network equipment to be supplied by Lucent Technologies and BroadBand Technologies will include host digital terminals [HDTs], optical network units [ONUs], administrative systems and operations support interfaces. HDTs combine digital telephone and video signals, which are carried via fiber-optic cables between the Bell Atlantic switching office and ONUs.
These ONUs serve about 25 to 30 homes each and are located "at the curb" on poles or in small cabinets on the ground. They split the integrated signal from the HDT into two distinct signals -- one for telephone service, and one for video, high-speed data and interactive multimedia services. The telephone signal is carried over copper wires into homes and small businesses. The video/interactive signal is carried either by copper or coaxial cable from the ONU to the customer.
Bell Atlantic Corporation 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.
Lucent Technologies designs, builds and delivers a wide range of public and private networks, communications systems and software, consumer and business telephone systems and microelectronics components. Bell Laboratories is the research and development arm of the company.
BroadBand Technologies, Inc., based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., was founded in 1988. Its mission is to deliver products and services that enable network and service providers to offer consumers robust, economical electronic access to advanced communications, entertainment and information services.
* SLC is a registered trademark of Lucent Technologies.
304-344-7562 [after July 15]
Eric Rabe, 703-974-3036 or 215-963-6531