March 18, 1997 6:15 PM ET
Bandwidth boost ahead, according to Bell Atlantic CEO Ray Smith
By Stephanie LaPolla

  NEW YORK -- Ray Smith, chairman and CEO of Bell Atlantic Corp., today outlined new communications technologies that will provide corporations and consumers with affordable and high-speed Internet access.

Smith said Bell Atlantic will roll out ADSL (asymmetrical digital subscriber line) technology that lets users integrate voice and data on existing phone lines. This will take place soon after Bell Atlantic and Nynex Corp. complete their merger, expected by next month, Smith said during a keynote at Gartner Group Inc.'s Internet and Electronic Commerce Expo here.

A move to the nascent ADSL technology should greatly boost speed. ADSL runs at 6M bps, while Bell Atlantic today offers only 128K-bps ISDN for voice, data and video over existing phone lines.

At current test sites, ADSL costs about $60/month. Final pricing is not set for the service, which will be generally available by the end of the year.

Smith also said that Bell Atlantic later this year will roll out its switched broadband network, a 52M-bps service currently being tested in Philadelphia.

Fiber-based broadband, developed in conjunction with Lucent Technologies Inc., will provide telephony, interactive video and wireless services.

"Switched broadband, with its range of capabilities, will obsolete everything else," said Smith.

As the technology evolves, both Bell Atlantic and its customers must change with the times in order to survive, Smith said.

"The strategic agility of small and large businesses is the most important aspect going forward," said Smith.

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