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 message. "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 private. "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 http://www.bellsouth.com .
SOURCE BellSouth Corporation