CLENDENIN WARNS SHAREHOLDERS OF THREAT TO FREEDOM OF PARTICIPATION IN INFORMATION SERVICES
CLENDENIN WARNS SHAREHOLDERS OF THREAT TO FREEDOM
OF PARTICIPATION IN INFORMATION SERVICES
JACKSON, Miss., April 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The dawning of the Information Age is helping create an explosive demand for communications services worldwide, BellSouth Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive John L. Clendenin told shareholders at the company's annual meeting today.
But Clendenin warned BellSouth shareholders that proposed federal legislation threatens to stifle the introduction of information services and deny American consumers the improved quality of life such services could offer.
"Some powerful interests, particularly some big media companies that own newspapers and cable TV operations, don't want us in information services, and they're lobbying in Washington to take away the freedom we've gained," Clendenin said.
"We suspect, in fact, that they're going to try to codify all the MFJ (Modification of Final Judgment) restrictions into law, so not only would we be permanently barred from information services, but also long distance and manufacturing.
"If they have their way," he added, "BellSouth will be kept away from a big portion of the growing telecommunications pie in this exploding Age of Information."
He vowed that keeping the freedom the courts granted the Bell holding companies last summer to offer information services is now BellSouth's top priority.
In the meantime, Clendenin noted that the company performed well in 1991 and is positioned for good sustained growth. While taking on growing competition aggressively in its traditional wireline markets, BellSouth has also been actively pursuing new areas such as wireless communications.
"Change is coming so fast that while you might be well positioned for the time being, if you're not anticipating and shaping change, you'll be left behind....That's why we're working in every way possible to get the flexibility we need to serve our customers," he said.
The annual meeting featured demonstrations of ways BellSouth is pursuing various options now open to it in information services and other areas.
A major highlight of the meeting was a live distance learning demonstration in which Clendenin carried on a two-way video question and answer session with high school classrooms in Philadelphia, Miss., and Charlotte, N.C.
The 500-mile, interstate, fiber-optic video link was the first of its kind in the nation.
"The demonstration brought home the potential our technology offers in giving students and teachers resources beyond conventional boundaries," Clendenin said.
The distance learning demonstration was part of an overall education theme for this year's annual meeting, which was held in the Murrah High School auditorium here. The theme was chosen to focus attention on BellSouth's commitment to education and why education reform is of critical importance to the country and the company.
BellSouth (NYSE: BLS) is an international telecommunications holding company. Its subsidiaries offer local telephone service in nine southeastern states and mobile communications services worldwide, provide advertising and publishing services, and market and maintain stand-alone and fully integrated communications systems.
/CONTACT: Larry Stevens of BellSouth, 404-249-2832/
(BLS) CO: BellSouth Corporation ST: Mississippi IN: TLS SU:
BN-BR -- AT010 -- 3290 04/27/92 15:10 EDT