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We thought that readers of this list would be interested in the following
announcement regarding NII connections for schools and libraries.  The
News Release from the coalition can be found at:


Joan Rasmussen
Bell Atlantic                           |   Internet:   bellatl@ba.com



ARLINGTON, VA, -Innovative proposals by five national education and
library organizations, the computer industry and Bell Atlantic are a major
step toward assuring that the National Information Infrastructure (NII) is
available to school children across the United States, according to Jim
Cullen, Bell Atlantic President.

"These organizations have demonstrated the vision that is needed to ensure
that all students can benefit from the promise of the information
superhighway," said Cullen.  "Creative solutions must be used if we are to
meet the goal of Vice President Gore to connect every classroom and
library to the NII by the end of the decade."

The proposals, made recently in three separate filings with the
Federal Communications Commission, share the same basic concept--that
regulatory incentives are needed to encourage local telephone companies to
connect America's classrooms and libraries as rapidly and widely as
possible.  If all phone companies participated, the incentives proposed
could result in investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in
telecommunications improvements for education and libraries.

In addition to Bell Atlantic, one proposal was made by the American
Library Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the
National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National
Education Association and the National School Boards Association. Their
idea supported and expanded on another proposal made by the Computer and
Communications lndustry Association (CCIA).

All three filings were made in response to the FCC's request for comments
on how federal price cap regulation of telephone services can further the
goal of deploying the NII, including facilities needed to provide
educational services.

Bell Atlantic proposed that the FCC provide an optional reduction in the
productivity offset that is part of current price cap regulation.  The
reduction, said Bell Atlantic, would provide an incentive for investment in
areas such as education and health care.  Local telephone companies could
take advantage of this reduced offset only if they devoted the additional
revenues they receive to purposes approved by the commission.

Today, changes in local phone company access charges are based on the
inflation rate minus a productivity factor determined by the commission.

All of the proposals would require that local phone companies work with
state and local education and library leaders, and submit plans to the FCC
for approval that outline how and where investments would be made.

In addition, the CCIA and Bell Atlantic called for an end to price cap
sharing formulas.  By limiting a telephone company's return on its
investment, sharing formulas provide a disincentive to allocate funds for
development of the NII.

Bell Atlantic has been working with the educational community to find
creative methods to expand students' access to information age
technologies.  "These proposals would give students and teachers acces to
a rich source of information, experiences and ideas that will open a true
window to the word," said Cullen.  "It is a solution that educators and
the White House have long sought to obtain.

Bell Atlantic Corporation, based in Philadelphia, is the parent of
companies which provide a full array of local exchange telecommunications
services in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West
Virginia and Washington, D.C.  The corporation is at the forefront of
developing a variety of new products, including video, entertainment and
information services.

Bell Atlantic also is the parent of one of the nation's largest cellular
carriers and has an ownership position in cellular properties
internationally.  In addition, Bell Atlantic owns an interest in Telecom
Corporation of New Zealand and is the parent of companies that provide
business systems services for customer-based information technology
through the U.S. and internationally.

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