BellSouth Privacy Director Launched in Atlanta

Call Screening Software Designed by BellSouth Engineers Protects

Residential Phone Customers From Unwanted Calls

Oct 28, 1999, 01:00 ET from BellSouth Corporation

    ATLANTA, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- BellSouth (NYSE:   BLS) announced today the
 launch in Atlanta of the new BellSouth(R) Privacy Director(SM) service that
 enables customers to have complete control of their telephone calls and screen
 out unwanted interruptions, especially those from unknown and private numbers
 that don't show up on Caller ID.
     "No one likes to be interrupted by annoying calls from telemarketers or
 other unknown persons," said Terry Yarbrough, assistant vice president for
 product management for BellSouth Consumer Services.  "We are extremely excited
 to be able to offer customers this hallmark service that helps them screen out
 unwanted calls while being able to accept calls from friends and family
 members who have their names blocked from Caller ID."
     Privacy Director service works in conjunction with Caller ID Deluxe.  When
 a person calls with a blocked or unknown number that won't show up on Caller
 ID, Privacy Director service answers the call and gives the callers the option
 of identifying themselves.  If they refuse to identify who they are, the phone
 doesn't ring at the BellSouth customer's home and they are not interrupted.
 If the callers identify themselves, the phone rings and Privacy Director tells
 the customer who is calling.  The customer then has the option of answering
 the call, ignoring the call, or sending phone solicitors a sales reject
     "Customers love Caller ID and Call Waiting, making those two services our
 most popular features," Yarbrough said.  "Now Privacy Director service
 provides the trifecta of privacy, making it easy and convenient for customers
 to manage their time and meet their communications needs."
     Because Privacy Director service gives customers a great value and
 provides a solution to telemarketing calls and other interruptions from
 unknown callers, BellSouth expects the new call-screening service to be one of
 the most popular ever offered.
     A unique aspect of the design of Privacy Director service is that
 BellSouth designed and wrote the product software itself, a national first in
 the industry.  The Privacy Director software was created in collaboration with
 Lucent Technologies Communications Software Unit, who also created the
 intelligent network hardware.  BellSouth chose to write its own software
 because lab tests reveal additional opportunities for advancements not
 available under the product's original design.
     "BellSouth wanted to customize the call-screening software to address the
 specific needs of our customers and make it as convenient and easy to use as
 possible," Yarbrough said.
     Enhancements created by BellSouth's software design included giving a
 "private number" caller the ability to block or unblock their number.  The
 BellSouth software enables a private caller to press "1" to unblock their
 number and complete the call or to record their name and keep their number
     "By designing our own unique call-screening software, we will be able to
 make changes as the need arises to incorporate future enhancements and
 integrate our services on the same calling platforms," Yarbrough said.
     Privacy Director service was successfully tested in Stuart and Port St.
 Lucie, Fla., beginning July 15, and resulted in more than 600 customer
 subscriptions, on target with pre-trial estimates.  Privacy Director service
 became available in South Florida on September 23 and received overwhelming
 success with an average of more than 1,100 new subscriptions per day.  Privacy
 Director will roll-out throughout the BellSouth nine-state region next year.
     Privacy Director service is available for $5.95 per month plus a one-time
 programming fee of $19.95.  Customers with the BellSouth(R) Complete Choice(R)
 plan can have Privacy Director service for just one penny a month after a
 $19.95 programming fee.  To order the service, Atlanta area customers should
 call toll-free 877-487-8525.
     BellSouth is a $25 billion communications service company.  It provides
 telecommunications, wireless communications, cable and digital TV, directory
 advertising and publishing, and Internet and data services to nearly
 36 million customers in 19 countries worldwide.
     Note: For more information about BellSouth Corporation, visit the
 BellSouth Web page at .

SOURCE BellSouth Corporation