Bell Atlantic Expands Beyond Local Data Market

NEW YORK (06/15/2000) - Bell Atlantic Corp. is jumping into the international data market with new services called Global Private Line, Frame Relay and ATM.

The services represent a significant increase in the territory the carrier can cover with its data offerings, but they do not approach the ubiquity of other carriers.

Bell Atlantic had been restricted to selling only local access data services, and customers had to buy long-haul connections separately from long-distance carriers. But now Bell Atlantic can sell local services in 37 states outside its region as well as long-distance services in New York. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is letting Bell Atlantic sell long-distance in New York as a reward for encouraging competition from other local carriers.

Outside the U.S., the service will initially be available in the U.K., Spain, France, Germany and Japan.

All the services will travel over Bell Atlantic's own networks for customer sites that are within the company's region. Cable & Wireless PLC will provide Bell Atlantic with private-line service everywhere else the service is offered, as well as frame relay and ATM service overseas. Intermedia will provide frame relay and ATM services to U.S. sites outside the Bell Atlantic territory.

The carrier gave a pricing example for frame relay service in which a single permanent virtual circuit with a guaranteed rate of 768K-bps between New York and London would cost about US$16,000 per month. That can be reduced by up to 25 percent depending on how long customers sign up for the service and how much they spend altogether on Bell Atlantic services.

A T-1 global private line from New York to Chicago would cost $4,571 per month, while one from New York to London would cost $17,360 per month, Bell Atlantic says. Installation charges are waived until the end of July. Rates can be 30 percent to 40 percent less, depending on contract terms.

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