C&P Md. to be renamed 'Bell Atlantic-Maryland'

September 03, 1993|By Ian Johnson | Ian Johnson,New York Bureau

NEW YORK -- In a move to improve the marketing of its growing video and cellular-phone businesses to its 18 million customers, Bell Atlantic Corp. said yesterday that it would rename its seven local telephone companies.

Sometime next year, the company's telephone subsidiaries will be renamed "Bell Atlantic," followed by the name of their region. Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. of Maryland, for example, will be called Bell Atlantic-Maryland.

Bell Atlantic's seven local telephone companies are known as New Jersey Bell, Bell of Pennsylvania, Diamond State Telephone (Delaware), and the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Cos. of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

In the past two years, the company's business has been growing beyond local telephone service, where revenue has been stagnant. It has grown into the country's fourth-largest cellular-phone company and is testing new technology to allow television viewers to call up video libraries over their telephone lines.

Last week, Bell Atlantic won a landmark court case allowing it to compete with the local cable company in Alexandria, Va. The decision overturned a 1984 law forbidding the "Baby Bells" to provide cable programming.

Founded in 1878 -- a year after the first telephone was exhibited in Baltimore (at a Masonic Temple) -- the Maryland Telephone Co. of Baltimore City was chartered to build telephone and telegraph lines in Maryland.

Two years later, it became the National Telephonic Exchange Co. of Baltimore City and three years after that, it became Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. of Baltimore City -- with headquarters in Washington.

The company took its current name on Jan. 3, 1956, when, months before the 1 millionth telephone was installed in Maryland, it became Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. of Maryland.

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