Congress Off to Good Start on Telecom Update With Focus on Broadband Technology

WASHINGTON - Congress is off to a good start on its effort to update the 1996 Telecommunications Act by holding a hearing today focusing on how broadband technology is changing the world of communications, according to Verizon executive Peter B. Davidson.

The topic of the hearing by the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet was, "How IP-Enabled Services Are Changing the Face of Communications: A View From Technology Companies." The panel, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton, heard from top executives of Motorola, Lucent, Alcatel and Qualcomm on how broadband-based technology is changing the marketplace, providing new applications and services for consumers, and spurring economic growth. Technology leaders who testified suggested Congress should free broadband from burdensome regulations.

"Chairman Upton and members of the subcommittee are doing exactly the right thing by focusing on technology and consumers," said Davidson, senior vice president for federal government relations at Verizon, after attending the hearing. "We're in a new, Internet-enabled world of communications that promises more and better choices for consumers. But the laws have got to catch up with technology for this potential to be reached faster.

"Chairmen Barton and Upton understand that consumers and the economy will benefit from changes now under way, and we thank them for their leadership in updating the law," Davidson said. Rep. Joe Barton chairs the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Verizon is moving forward with its aggressive plan to bring fiber-optic broadband connections directly to homes and businesses. FiOs, Verizon's new, high-speed Internet service, is available to homes and businesses in more than 70 communities in nine states. The company has already announced deployments in a total of 12 states (California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia). Verizon fiber currently passes approximately 1 million premises, and the current pace of deployment is running at 35,000 to 40,000 premises per week. FiOs is video-capable, and a commercial video product designed to give consumers a competitive alternative to cable television will be deployed starting in the second half of the year. Verizon invested approximately $1 billion on its fiber network in 2004. The company expects to hire 3,000 to 5,000 employees by the end of 2005 to help build the network.

Verizon Communications Inc.

With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 210,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom serves customers based in 29 states with wireline telecommunications services, including broadband, nationwide long-distance and other services. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 43.8 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.