Verizon: Serving Washingtonians with the Best, Most Reliable Networks

By Anthony A. Lewis

Verizon's mission has long been to provide consumers and businesses in the Washington metropolitan area and across the country with service over the nation's best and most reliable networks. Our decision a decade ago to build a network that brings advanced fiber optics directly to homes and businesses spurred a revolution that has resulted in dramatic broadband speed increases and spirited competition for TV services. And our laser focus on reliability and innovation has consistently led the wireless industry, as Verizon Wireless has deployed a nationwide 4G LTE network in more than 500 markets covering nearly 300 million people.

We've invested nearly $50 billion over the past three years to transform our wired and wireless infrastructure. On the wired side, we're deploying an advanced, all-fiber-optic network that currently is available to about 15 million homes and businesses in Washington, D.C., and parts of 12 states.

This network transformation is providing consumers and small business owners with better service quality, as well as industry-leading broadband speeds and superior video quality.

While our copper-based infrastructure has served customers well for decades – and still provides reliable voice and data communications in much of our service area – the best-suited technology for delivering reliable services to a growing number of Verizon customers is fiber optics. An all-fiber network has a number of advantages over a copper-based network, an important one of which is increased reliability and better service quality. For example, a fiber network isn't susceptible to water damage. Copper infrastructure is.

In addition, we're often able to restore a major service issue caused by damaged fiber-optic cables much more quickly than copper cables, since it's easier to repair or replace the hair-thin strands in fiber-optic cables than it is the literally thousands of individual wires that make up a large copper communications cable.

As Verizon's all-fiber network has expanded in the District and across much of the Washington metropolitan area, we have worked to ensure customers are being served by our best available technology. In particular, we have identified customers who have had recurring landline phone service issues and whose service is provided over our copper-based network, and we're recommending to those customers that they work with us to move their phone service to our all-fiber infrastructure.

There's no charge for this, and the customer's phone service is identical – the same price and features. Actually, it's better for them in that the fiber-based phone service is more reliable. They find that there's no more static or hum on the line when it rains, for example. And the fiber-based phone service has a battery backup that's designed to withstand most commercial power outages.

The customer response to this transformation has been great. We are approaching 500,000 customers nationwide under this program now getting their communications services over fiber. In all, Verizon serves over 6M customers on its fiber infrastructure. And we've responded to the few complaints that we've received from customers – many of which involve confusion about whether their specific calling plan or price will change.

We're making customers aware of this program in numerous ways: We're speaking with them as they call us to request a repair. We're sending letters to identified customers. We're meeting customers at their homes, in Advisory Neighborhood Commission and community meetings and events.

Verizon is committed to making its customers' experience the very best in the industry, from reliability to the breadth of our communications, broadband and video products and services. And we'll continue to improve our service quality and product portfolio to make that happen.

Anthony A. Lewis is region vice president-government affairs for Verizon.