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Telephone Rings for Baltimore


Philadelphia's and Newark's losses will be Baltimore City's gain. That's the implication of Bell Atlantic's announcement that it is shifting 600 mostly high-technology jobs from Pennsylvania and New Jersey to Maryland.

"Baltimore was selected because it had the most space available -- and the lowest rates -- of any site selected," a company memo explained.

This is cheerful news for the downtown business district following on the heels of USF&G;'s decision to move 767 workers from its Inner Harbor signature tower to its corporate campus in Mount Washington.

The Bell Atlantic transfers will occur by year's end. Though the jobs affected are primarily in Philadelphia and Newark, some employees won't move to Baltimore. In that case, candidates from within the Bell Atlantic system would be considered for the openings. "There is a lot of churning and shifting around," a company representative said, referring to Bell Atlantic's efforts to maximize the impact of new technological inventions by reducing its total work force.

What is important for Baltimore is that "these are the jobs that look to the future and not the past," as Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke put it.

The pace of development in the telephone field is increasingly rapid these days. If anything, the speed promises to accelerate as regulatory changes are likely to allow the merging of telephone services with cable television, computers and video. The new jobs elevate Baltimore to an important technological design center for fast-growing Bell Atlantic.

Since the new Bell Atlantic employees will be within walking distance of such neighborhoods as Federal Hill and Mount Vernon, they are candidates for city living. City Hall and the real estate community must make sure they feel welcome.

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