Current Telephone Regulations Ensure Lower Costs, Greater Choices for Californians

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- California's telecommunications policy has kept telephone rates low and accelerated the deployment of new services by encouraging infrastructure investment over the past decade, Verizon executives said in testimony presented today to state officials as part of a regulatory review.

The California Public Utilities Commission is conducting a routine review of the regulations under which Verizon has operated in California since 1990. The regulations cap prices for basic telephone services and provide strong incentives for greater efficiency in the telecommunications industry. Regulations have also reduced rates $1.6 billion for Verizon's customers over the past decade.

Verizon recommends that the commission leave the current regulations intact when it concludes its review, which is expected in 2003. In its testimony, Verizon challenges a recent recommendation from the California Office of Ratepayer Advocates to turn back the clock to an outdated regulatory framework.

"The commission's New Regulatory Framework has been a tremendous success for Californians," Verizon Pacific Region President Tim McCallion said. "Keeping the current framework intact guarantees that overall rates will decline in real terms and gives Verizon the incentive to make infrastructure investments that are critical for keeping California at the forefront in terms of economic opportunity."

Verizon has invested $6 billion upgrading its network in the state since 1989, ensuring that its network keeps pace with California's economic growth. These investments have built a new fully digital network in California. This new network relies on the latest most reliable technology, and it is capable of providing customers with new services, such as Caller ID, smart messaging and broadband DSL (digital subscriber line) service.

Verizon's success under NRF has also allowed the company to invest in the well being of the communities it serves. Since 1995, Verizon and its predecessor, GTE, have given more than $2.5 million a year to philanthropic causes in California with a particular emphasis on improving literacy, bridging the digital divide, enriching communities through technology and creating a skilled work force.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 132.1 million access line equivalents and 29.4 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 247,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.