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BELL OF PENNSYLVANIA LISTS KEY ACHIEVEMENTS OF 1992

 PITTSBURGH, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Meeting customer expectations. Enhancing customers' lives with the advantages of the latest technology. Controlling expenses to keep telephone rates among the lowest in the nation. Helping assure the economic well-being of the communities it serves.
 These were Bell of Pennsylvania's key achievements in 1992, according to Eric Rabe, manager of media relations.
 "It was a year characterized by our commitment to making Pennsylvania a better place to live -- a commitment shared by our more than 16,000 Bell of Pennsylvania employees," Rabe said.
 -- High quality service:
 Bell of Pennsylvania continued to provide high-quality service to its residential and business customers in 1992 as determined by monthly surveys conducted by an independent firm. The surveys gauge overall customer satisfaction in a number of service categories.
 In response to changing customer needs, customer service representatives extended their hours, taking customer calls until 6 p.m. weekdays, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The company also initiated same-day service installations in some areas.
 In what Rabe called "an unusual move in a recession year but necessary to improve our customer response time," the company added 115 service representatives.
 -- Investing in customer service:
 Throughout the year, Bell of Pennsylvania invested some $637 million in upgrading its facilities to boost efficiency and support the demand for advanced services. That expenditure included installation of some 90,000 additional miles of fiber optic cable, bringing the company's total to 267,000 fiber miles.
 Rabe noted that fiber optic cable systems transmit voice, data and video signals as bursts of light, powered by lasers, over hair-thin strands of glass. Fiber technology offers speed and capacity never before possible. "It is the key to an array of advanced services for residence and business customers," he said.
 Across its serving territory, Bell of Pennsylvania replaced 12 older switching offices with state-of-the-art digital switching units, the gateway to enhanced customer options.
 Rabe said his company will invest about $575 million during 1993 for growth and to permit the continued introduction of new services.
 -- Ultra Forward - and more:
 Thanks to Bell of Pennsylvania's investment in equipment modernization, more customers were able to take advantage of information-age options that add new levels of convenience and security to their lives.
 These personal call management "I.Q. Services" allow customers to automatically redial a busy number (Repeat Call); trace a call (Call Trace); block numbers from which they do not wish to receive calls (Call Block); and more.
 In the past year, Bell of Pennsylvania made these I.Q. Services available to some 300,000 additional customers served by 19 switching offices.
 The company introduced Ultra Forward service, which permits Call Forwarding customers to activate the service from any touch-tone phone. It expanded the availability of Answer Call service, which turns the telephone into an answering machine without the need to purchase one, and Home Intercom service, which lets you use the telephone to communicate within the home without the need to purchase additional equipment.
 Customers in 20 communities were given the option of Hometown-Plus, a service that allows single-line, residential customers to cut costs and add convenience by tailoring their own local calling areas.
 During 1992, Bell of Pennsylvania continued to meet the increasingly complex and sophisticated communications needs of its large business customers by introducing an array of new services.
 Those services include Switched Megabit Data Service, which allows businesses to transport data more efficiently and at higher speeds; and Switched Redirect Service, which permits customers to redirect their incoming calls for load control or in the event of an emergency.
 The company also introduced Centrex Extend Service, which allows Centrex customers with multiple locations to communicate and interact as though they are at the same location.
 The company designed and installed a unique communications system to serve the new Midfield Terminal at the Pittsburgh International Airport. The system incorporates latest-design, "intelligent network" technology that offers flexibility, diverse fiber routing, protection from failures and the ability to restore itself in an emergency -- features critical to the nation's third-largest airport.
 During the year, Bell of Pennsylvania placed in service three countywide 9-1-1 emergency service systems, bringing to about 70 percent the portion of the company's access lines protected by the emergency systems.
 -- Keeping costs down, efficiency up:
 As part of its continuing effort to remain a low-cost provider of communications services, Bell of Pennsylvania implemented several major cost-reduction programs during 1992.
 Efforts continued on a $19 million program to convert each of the company's customer service centers to a computerized system, permitting faster response for customers placing orders for service or service changes. Once the conversion is completed in 1995, the program will result in savings of more than $13 million annually.
 Debt refinancing in 1992, to take advantage of lower interest rates, will result in an annual reduction of more than $5 million in interest costs.
 Some 120 managers and 1,100 associates took advantage of a retirement offer to reduce the size of the force. The offer was made to reduce staff costs; most will not be replaced.
 -- Improving the quality of life:
 In addition to the provision of high-quality, low-cost communications services, Bell of Pennsylvania made a number of significant contributions to the quality of life in the commonwealth during 1992.
 The company made major strides to support recycling efforts. Bell of Pennsylvania worked with 20 municipalities to establish telephone directory recycling programs. As a result, some 500 tons of outdated directories were recycled.
 Five Pennsylvania communities stand to benefit from Business Outreach programs completed in 1992. To date, 56 communities and 30 counties have participated in the program, introduced and assisted by Bell of Pennsylvania to help stimulate retention and growth of businesses.
 Bell of Pennsylvania contributed $3.85 million to nonprofit organizations, with emphasis on education, literacy, health and welfare.
 Almost 25,000 employees and retirees, as members of the Telephone Pioneers of America, contributed 900,000 hours of voluntary effort to projects designed to enhance the quality of life in the commonwealth.
 /delval/
 -0- 12/23/92
 /CONTACT: Sharon Shaffer in Philadelphia, or Shirley Risoldi in Pittsburgh, of Bell of Pennsylvania, 800-491-0190/


CO: Bell of Pennsylvania ST: Pennsylvania IN: TLS SU:

CD-MK -- PG006 -- 9638 12/23/92 15:04 EST
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Date:Dec 23, 1992
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