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BELL OF PENNSYLVANIA AND PENNSYLVANIA NEWSPAPER PUBLISHER'S ASSOCIATION AGREE ON ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING SAFEGUARDS

 PITTSBURGH, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association (PNPA) and Bell of Pennsylvania, a Bell Atlantic company, announced today that they have agreed on safeguards that will govern the company's future provision of electronic publishing services.
 Electronic publishing includes such things as electronic classified ads offered by newspapers, electronic Yellow Pages and facsimile news or advertising services.
 The safeguards, which will apply only in Pennsylvania, will be submitted as part of the plan Bell of Pennsylvania will file with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) for development of a broadband telecommunications network and alternative regulation.
 Under the revised plan, if Bell of Pennsylvania were to provide electronic publishing services, it would do so through a corporate affiliate that would be fully separated from the telephone operating company. Such an affiliate would not share personnel or facilities with the telephone operating company, and would be responsible for its own marketing and operations. Bell of Pennsylvania would offer all publishers, including its own affiliate, the same services on equal terms.
 Jim Dible, publisher, Lewistown Sentinel, and chairman of PNPA's Telecommunications Subcommittee, said, "We believe this agreement provides added safeguards to promote development of a robust electronic publishing industry in our state. These safeguards protect potential competitors. With this protection, the newspapers in Pennsylvania look forward to providing consumers with many new and innovative services using the advanced telecommunications network that Bell of Pennsylvania will be deploying."
 Bell of Pennsylvania President and CEO Bob Valentini, commented, "We are pleased to have reached this agreement with the newspaper publishers. While we believe the legislation recently passed by the Pennsylvania legislature already provides adequate safeguards, this agreement ends the controversy between the newspaper industry and ourselves and permits us both to focus our attention on developing the broadband network and providing new services to consumers more quickly than otherwise. We look forward to working with all information providers to bring the full benefits of an advanced telecommunications network and new information technology to Pennsylvania's consumers."
 In October 1992, a federal court ruled Bell of Pennsylvania could enter the electronic publishing business. The company had been barred from providing that service since 1984 under the consent decree which broke up the Bell System. In June 1993, recognizing the need to more rapidly develop a broadband telecommunications network and the increasing competition in telecommunications, the state legislature adopted Act 67 allowing the company to submit to the PUC a plan for development of an advanced telecommunications network and an alternative form of regulation. Bell of Pennsylvania expects to submit that plan in October.
 Members of PNPA have been developing systems to provide news, information and advertising to the public by phone, facsimile and home computers using a telephone network.
 Bell of Pennsylvania is a subsidiary of Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE BEL). Based in Philadelphia, Bell Atlantic is also the parent company of New Jersey Bell, Diamond State Telephone (Delaware) and the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Companies of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, companies which provide a full array of local exchange telecommunications services in the mid-Atlantic region.
 PNPA is a trade association representing 297 daily and weekly newspapers in Pennsylvania, including affiliates and associate members.
 /delval/
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 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Larry Boyle, PNPA general counsel, will be available to take calls at 412-633-5574, from 2 to 5 p.m. today/
 /CONTACT: Jim Dible, 717-248-6741, or Larry Boyle, 717-234-4067, of PNPA; or Eric Rabe of Bell of Pennsylvania, 800-491-0190/
 (BEL)


CO: Pennsylvania Newspapers Publisher's Association; Bell of
 Pennsylvania; Bell Atlantic Corporation ST: Pennsylvania IN: PUB TLS SU:


JM-CC -- PH023 -- 5247 09/23/93 13:31 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 23, 1993
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