Editors Note: Daniel J. Whelan, president of Verizon Pennsylvania, will hold a dial-in news conference at noon eastern time today to discuss these issues. Reporters may call 1-888-391-0082 to participate.
PHILADELPHIA - Data is king at the 2000 Republican National Convention. The demand for high-speed data lines by hundreds of dot.com journalists, businesses, and convention-goers has revolutionized the way people communicate at this political gathering -and the way Verizon Communications serves these monumental events.
"This convention is Internet-driven, data intensive, and unprecedented in its hunger for technology," Daniel J. Whelan, president - Verizon Pennsylvania. "Data is just as important to our customers here as voice services. We recognized this immediately and placed more than enough capacity in our network and switching facilities to serve anyone's need for speed at this event."
Verizon, the national telecommunications company formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, exceeded the convention planners' requirements as the official local telecommunications provider and built enough data power inside the First Union Center grounds to serve the equivalent of 139,000 voice telephone lines. These data circuits, or "fat pipes," will help hundreds of convention staffers disseminate information at lightning speed and allow hurried news organizations to file stories, broadcast live, upload and download large files and stream video to the Web. The data lines, coupled with over 16,000 traditional telephone, special access private lines, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) circuits, provide enough telecommunications firepower to serve a small city.
Four new remote switching terminals, custom built for the convention, will carry bursts of voice, data and video traffic to and from the First Union Center along 6,600 miles of new fiber-optic lines, through upgraded central office switching facilities around the city and out to the world. This new souped-up architecture can handle almost half a million voice and data calls simultaneously and will be monitored by Verizon employees around the clock during the four-day convention.
"The effort is phenomenal, considering that much of the network inside the First Union Center grounds was built in fewer than 43 days," said Joseph Cascio, vice president - Verizon Enterprise Business.
Part of the massive network construction project also will continue to benefit the city after the convention ends.
"This project is a win-win for the convention, the city, and for business development," Cascio added. "The new underground fiber-optic network upgrades will serve myriad new businesses from the Naval Shipyard through Center City all the way to north Philadelphia. It was a good investment for everyone involved."
The company's response for innovative data solutions reaches far beyond the network to convention products and services as well. When the Web-savvy convention organizers needed an intranet Web site to deliver convention floor speeches, press releases and other information to news media in real time, Verizon Network Integration and network engineers worked with the Committee on Arrangements and others to help develop a unique approach to connect the service, called Media 2K. The engineers reconfigured the network design from the First Union Center to allow the Media 2K server to transmit data along single mode fiber, an unprecedented project built within four weeks.
"We're proud we helped the committee - and the convention - make the transition from a largely paper environment to the wired world," said Ray Strano, convention project manager, Verizon Network Integration.
The organizers' desire for innovative data solutions didn't stop there. Verizon responded by launching online ordering of local telecommunications services from Verizon's Web site. The company also installed its Connect@onceTMservice in the Committee on Arrangements' Victory Pavilion at the First Union Center. Connect@once, which uses the latest in speech recognition technology, will enable staffers to dial *0 on their office phones for access to a voice-activated directory of restaurants, hotels, attractions and transportation in Philadelphia.
Whelan credited Verizon's employees, many of whom worked tirelessly to design network upgrades, build phone lines, beef up the data and fiber-optic networks, pull hundreds of miles of cable and perform intricate wiring jobs.
"They are nimble and forward-thinking under high-pressure circumstances," Whelan said. "And at every turn, they have been focused on the customer. For each challenge, there is a solution."
More than 125 employees and retirees volunteered to assist the Host Committee by serving as drivers, hosts and telecommunications specialists for the four-day event, he said.
"This is an all out effort," Whelan noted. "Whether they are hard at work at the First Union Center or juggling work schedules and giving up vacation to volunteer, our Verizon employees and retirees want to be sure they put a human face on the city of Brotherly Love."
ATTACHMENT: FACT SHEET
The Republican National Convention
As the official local telecommunications provider for the 2000 Republican National Convention, Verizon Communications, the national telecommunications company formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, has created a customized, state-of-the-art network to serve the more than 45,000 delegates and media converging on Philadelphia.
Verizon is fulfilling the monumental task of ensuring that every attendee has the local data and voice capacity needed to realize the convention planners' vision of a "flawless, seamless, technological experience."
As Philadelphia welcomes the world, Verizon has invested 4.5 million dollars into a local network capable of handling nearly half a million simultaneous calls and data transmissions for the convention. More than 1,000 employees constructed those facilities and will monitor each bit and byte that moves through the First Union Center during the four-day convention. Verizon has met its commitment to the convention, the party and the city -- on virtually every front.
|Verizon Promised...||Verizon Delivered...*|
|8,000 traditional phone lines, essential to meeting the needs of every attendee, whether they are calling the office or calling home.||12,000 lines to accommodate late-breaking demand for extra capacity and for convention-goers who extend their stay in Philadelphia|
|2,000 Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) lines for simultaneous voice and data transmission. ISDN up to five times faster than a 28.8 modem||2,332 lines, mostly to accommodate the needs of the broadcast media|
|500 special access high-speed data lines for news organizations and others to establish direct, dedicated and private transmissions.||817 lines to accommodate print and broadcast news organizations|
|125 DS-1 circuits (each the equivalent of 24 lines) and 100 DS-3 circuits (each the equivalent of 672 voice-grade lines). Both the DS-1 and DS-3 circuits are key for data transmission and video streaming.||504 DS-1 circuits and 189 DS-3 circuits, to accommodate increased data demands of news organizations, dot.com journalists and other Web-based businesses|
|500 Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL) providing high-speed Internet access and simultaneous voice and data transmission. DSL is up to 12 times faster than a traditional 56K modem.||Available capacity now exceeds 900 lines. The added capacity is essential for all media outlets, especially those with an online component.|
|150 special video circuits for broadcast media.||150 circuits|
* All figures estimated as of July 24, 2000
Verizon's enhanced network will instantaneously and automatically route telecommunications traffic from the First Union Center along multiple, diverse paths for maximum speed, security and efficiency.
To support the high-volume of convention traffic, Verizon has created a telecommunications network that is capable of serving a small Pennsylvania city. Linked by 47-plus miles of coaxial cable and 950 miles of telephone line within the First Union Center, connections across Philadelphia will include 6,600 new miles of fiber-optic cable. Placed end-to-end, these tiny fibers would extend from Philadelphia to Tokyo. This fiber-optic network will remain in place after the convention to help foster economic development projects in places like the Naval Shipyard, Penn's Landing, Center City and north Philadelphia.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, 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 95 million access lines and 25 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.