Associated Press Writer

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Bell Atlantic Corp. on Tuesday postponed plans to provide video service to 3 million East Coast residents, preferring instead to wait for better technology to build its network.

The company said it has requested the Federal Communications Commission halt its consideration of two applications to offer cable television in six metropolitan areas.

Bell Atlantic, based in Philadelphia, was the first Bell company to win federal court permission to provide cable service in its five-state region. The 1993 case prompted other phone companies to successfully challenge a 1984 Cable Act provision barring phone companies from owning and programming cable systems inside their telephone service areas.

Bell Atlantic had planned to charge customers $8 to $12 a month for a coaxial cable line -- the same line that would carry telephone service into their homes -- to provide cable television service. Customers would then have paid fees for programs, except for their local broadcast channels.

Bell Atlantic has asked the FCC to delay action on its applications until it can re-evaluate its options.

``We appreciate the substantial efforts the staff has devoted to processing these applications,'' the company said in a letter to the FCC's common carrier bureau, which it included in a statement.

``In the months since the applications were filed, however, significant technological and other developments have occurred which caused us to re-evaluate our plans,'' the letter continued.

Telephone messages left for Bell Atlantic representatives seeking additional comment were not immediately returned Tuesday evening.

Bell Atlantic on June 16, 1994, filed two applications for permission to use the video-capable coaxial cable it needs to transmit video signals across telephone lines.

The company said in its statement Tuesday that its applications to the FCC require the company to specify which equipment it will use to build the networks. Bell Atlantic said it wanted to wait until new technology becomes available so it can build the most effective system.

The areas that would have been covered by Bell Atlantic's video service plan were: Baltimore; northern New Jersey; Philadelphia-Delaware Valley; Pittsburgh; Hampton Roads, Va.; and Washington, D.C.

AP-WS-04-25-95 2241EDT

This material is copyrighted and may not be republished without permission of the originating newspaper or wire service. NewsHound is a service of the San Jose Mercury News. For more information call 1-800-818-NEWS.