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"You Have Got Be Kidding!!" An Incredulous Consumers Coalition Reacts to Bell Atlantic's 911 Cratering Yet Again, Again.; "A Bizarre Technology Trifecta".

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 10, 1999--

Observing that "Bell Atlantic is going for a bizarre trifecta by cratering New York's emergency phone system for the third time in recent weeks," Elizabeth Gallagher, Executive Director of the New York Consumers for Economic Competition is calling today's 911 slow-down, "ample evidence of a telephone company whose indifference and incompetence is incomprehensible."

Gallagher says the repeated failures of 911 to provide prompt dial tones is a warning that that Bell Atlantic is incapable of coping with existing service demands much less addressing new issues that will erupt if the utility is given approval to provide long distance service to local customers.

"The delays in getting through to 911 continues to beg the question why is Bell Atlantic trying to break into long distance service when they cant allow the consumer to call a squad car or an EMS truck. It is a cruel joke on the consumer that they insist they have passed a recent technology audit that would permit them to compete in long distance service when 911 has cratered yet again...and again," continued Gallagher.

The Coalition of organizations, businesses and individuals, founded in 1997, has been critical of Bell Atlantic's bid to be the nation's first local phone company to enter the long-distance market, pointing to what they call "stunning results" of a telecommunication audit conducted by KPMG Peat Marwick critical of Bell Atlantic's technology.

The independent audit was initiated by the New York Public Service Commission to ensure that Bell has truly opened its market to competitors and -- more importantly -- can transfer customers to competitors without cutting off their dial tones.

Among the problems the audit pointed out:

- deficiencies in Bell Atlantic's electronic messaging system that

make it impossible for customers to know the status of their

order which "can cause disruption to competitors' customers and a

perception that they are providing poor service, when in reality

the cause of the problem was a process problem of Bell

Atlantic's;"

- pervasive failures in Bell Atlantic's billing systems, meaning

customers would be charged for calls they never made, or the

wrong rates for calls that were placed;

- useless documentation for ordering service;

- inconsistent instructions for customers on how to reach help

desks; and

- unhelpful customer service help desks.

"Technology historians are going to look back on this and be extremely puzzled. How can Bell Atlantic crash their 911 emergency system and still suggest they are ready to enter the long distance while opening their local service system to competition where tens of thousands of customers will want to switch their service every month. We are in the wheel house of the Titanic and we all know the outcome but the captain." Gallagher concluded.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 10, 1999
Words:453
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