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BellSouth Puts Cyber Spin on Century-Old Payphone Technology.

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 24, 1997--This is not your grandfather's payphone.

It's not even the payphone you grew up with. BellSouth Public Communications, Inc. (BSPC), BellSouth's payphone services company, has launched two new Web Sites to introduce the wide range of advanced technologies the company has developed to improve upon a communications cornerstone of a modern society.

The site has been developed to serve key markets with expanding service requirements. The site, at , opens to a virtual village called "BSPC Town" with buildings that represent various business locations where payphones are used. These include a "mall," "hotel," "gas station," "convenience store," etc. and business owners and managers can click on these buildings to access information specific to their payphone needs.

"With the continuing growth of 'on-the-go' communications, payphones have become an essential element of customer satisfaction for many retailers," said Jim Hawkins, president of BellSouth Public Communications, Inc. "Payphones are also increasingly recognized as a source of profitability. Not only do good payphones keep customers coming back, but rapidly evolving technologies give businesses the option of providing customers more profit-building, value-added services, such as data-ports and public fax payphones."

By clicking on the "jail" in the virtual town at , customers enter a virtual prison which showcases the advanced features necessary to manage payphones within prison walls. BSPC has developed new technology to address the specialized demands of inmate population control, victims' rights, and inmate communications with the outside world. "Our site gives them an interactive tool for understanding how BellSouth's advanced technology can work for them," said Hawkins.

BSPC's MAX(SM) inmate telephone system allows jailers and wardens to give prisoners the telephone privileges that help maintain prison order, and simultaneously restrict illegal calling activities and block abusive calls. The MAX system also has advanced add-on prison population monitoring and control. Users will find a dynamic motion product demonstration of the call monitoring and blocking system. The site also features a five-minute slide show on the MAX system capabilities.

A new feature offered by BSPC allows victims and witnesses of crimes to receive automated advance notification of inmate hearings, transfers, or release dates. This trademarked system, known as VINE(TM), for Victim Information Notification Everyday, also generates notification letters if the system cannot reach the victim or witness by telephone.

Both sites have pages with hot buttons that visitors can click for access to a FAQs page addressing "frequently asked questions" about the payphone industry. The Features page includes an explanation of basic services, specialized solutions, advanced capabilities, and add-ons that will enable managers and prison officials to design a system to meet their specific service needs. Users can also download product brochures and press releases with the latest news from BSPC.

A bonus feature of each site is a Real-Audio(R) address for visitors whose computers support audio programs. The Inmate site has testimonials from correctional officers on the control and functionality of the MAX system, while the Public site features a "welcome" message from BSPC President Jim Hawkins.

When business users or prison officials are ready to contact a BSPC representative, each site is equipped with a response mechanism in BSPC's E-Post Office. This feature allows them to ask specific questions so that they can receive answers tailored to their needs. BellSouth says users can expect a response within 24 to 48 hours.

Established as a separate BellSouth subsidiary on April 1, BellSouth Public Communications, Inc. is the nation's largest stand-alone payphone services provider. BSPC customers complete over 3.2 million calls per day using over 172,000 BellSouth payphones at public and inmate locations throughout the Southeast. BellSouth Public Communications, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of BBS Holdings, Inc. which itself is a wholly owned subsidiary of BellSouth Telecommunications. BSPC is headquartered in Homewood, Ala., a suburb of Birmingham, and employs more than 785 people throughout BellSouth's nine-state region. -0- NOTE TO EDITORS: BSPC news releases dating back to March, 1997 can be found in the "BSPC Times" section of the Web site.

CONTACT: WestWayne, Inc.

Kimberly Krautter, 404/347-8927


BellSouth Public Communications

David Storey, 205/943-2532
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 24, 1997
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