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INFORMATION PROVIDERS PROTEST CONGRESSIONAL ATTEMPTS TO STOP BELL COMPANIES' PARTICIPATION IN INFORMATION SERVICES

INFORMATION PROVIDERS PROTEST CONGRESSIONAL ATTEMPTS TO STOP BELL
 COMPANIES' PARTICIPATION IN INFORMATION SERVICES
 WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- In a letter to members of Congress distributed today, a group of approximately 70 companies involved in electronic publishing signaled their opposition to pending congressional legislation that would prohibit the regional Bell operating companies (RBOCs) from participating in the provision of electronic publishing services in areas where the Bell company provides telephone service. In addition, in a series of Capitol Hill meetings, four executives from the informal group personally urged Members not to support H.R. 3515 and S. 2112, saying the bills will only serve to choke an already slow market.
 While opposing this legislation, the group nonetheless supports FCC regulations that ensure the Bell companies will use their resources and expertise in information services in a manner that promotes competition in the industry. In their letter, group members refute claims made by the American Newspaper Publishers Association (ANPA) that Bell participation will stifle competition and state, "...entrepreneurial electronic publishers stand to benefit if they are permitted to enter joint ventures with a Bell company or to rely on the financial or technical resources or marketing expertise of a Bell company."
 Members of today's delegation include:
 -- Michael Brown, president, Cognitive Training Associates, Inc.,
 Waxahachie, Texas
 -- Dan Bruns, president, General Videotex Corporation, Cambridge,
 Mass.
 -- James Coane, president, Telebase Systems, Inc., Wayne,
 Pa.
 -- Mark Walsh, vice president and general manager, Online, CUC
 International, Inc., Stamford, Conn.
 Brown commented, "The Bell presence will have a major influence on the information services market. Computer-Mediated-Communications (CMC) is an emerging tool that information services are using to provide Distance Learning Solutions for universities, school districts and industry. Bell participation would provide valuable expertise in planning the inevitable convergence of technology to the above mentioned campuses or work sites. Allowing the Bells to become participants in organizations developing and implementing educational paradigms will preempt unnecessary redesign efforts in several critical areas.


Finally, their participation could provide important new sources of development capital, standardizations, and increased usage at the grass- roots level, which will drive down transmission prices, thereby sparking greater usage, innovation of new services and increased competition."
 Bruns said, "We don't need or want to be protected from the Bell companies; rather we need to be free to work with them if we are to create competition, diversity and consumer choice. H.R. 3515 and S. 2112 are misguided attempts to reimpose the same information restrictions that were recently struck down in court. Acting to impose regulatory limits and restraints on Bell company participation in information services will only harm the consumer and the entrepreneurial information provider."
 Coane explained, "The Bell companies have shown an interest and willingness to work with relatively small information providers. More importantly, they have the resources to invest in developing enabling technologies to deliver new and needed information products and services to the consumer. If markets are to emerge and develop for the innovative products of these entrepreneurial companies, access to the Bells' resources and network channels is essential. It is to our advantage, and ultimately to the advantage of the consumer, to partner with the Bells."
 Walsh stated, "For the past several months, the ANPA and others have been trying to speak for the entire information services industry, contending that we all agree with their view of the information marketplace. We oppose the Cooper/Inouye legislation and support Bell company participation in the information services market. Efforts to delay their participation will only end up hurting our industry as a whole, and the (American) consumer."
 -0- 2/20/92
 /CONTACT: Dan Bruns, president of General Videotex Corporation, 617-491-3342/ CO: General Videotex Corporation; Cognitive Training Associates;
 Telebase Systems, Inc.; CUC International, Inc. ST: District of Columbia IN: TLS SU: LEG


AH -- NY105 -- 1194 02/20/92 19:00 EST
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Date:Feb 20, 1992
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