Florida, Mass., Consumers Now Have High-Speed Access to the Internet

FLORIDA, Mass. - Consumers and businesses in this tiny western Massachusetts community now have access to the Internet - at rocket speeds powered by Verizon.

Starting Wednesday (Aug. 13), Verizon High Speed Internet service is being offered throughout Florida, one of 24 western Massachusetts communities where broadband Internet access has been unavailable.  Verizon is planning to offer the service to the 23 other communities this year.

The service will give Internet users the ability to download at speeds of 768 Kbps (kilobits per second), 21 times faster than the current dial-up capability in Florida.

"This is a historic day for the town of Florida and for Verizon," said Donna C. Cupelo, Verizon region president for Massachusetts and Rhode Island, who declared Verizon High Speed Internet service "open for business" in Florida.

"We are proud to be able to bring the benefits of broadband Internet service to consumers in Florida today and soon to thousands more consumers in western Massachusetts," she said. "Verizon's investments in Massachusetts have and will continue to be a major contributor to growing the state's economy."

Earlier this year, Verizon announced it is investing $200 million to expand its network in Massachusetts, including bringing its High Speed Internet service to the 24 western Massachusetts communities.

By year's end, Cupelo said, Verizon expects to also make the service available in Becket, Blandford, Colrain, Cummington, Goshen, Hancock, Heath, Leverett, Leyden, Middlefield, Monroe, Montgomery, New Ashford, New Marlborough, Pelham, Plainfield, Rowe, Sandisfield, Tolland, Washington, Westhampton, Windsor and Worthington, and to make the service more widely available in Shutesbury.

The company will notify potential customers of the availability of the service in a number of ways, including direct mail, media advertising and contact with local officials in each community. Consumers can also visit www.verizon.com/ma for additional information.

When the work is completed, Verizon expects High Speed Internet service will be available to 70 percent of the company's customer lines, on average, in the 24 towns. The new broadband deployment of Verizon's High Speed Internet network will reach three-fourths of the western Massachusetts communities identified by the state as having no high speed broadband services.

State Rep. Daniel E. Bosley, chairman of the Massachusetts Legislature's Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and a leading proponent of broadband expansion in western Massachusetts, commended Verizon for its efforts.  "After years of working toward this goal, it is good to see that the residents of Florida and many other unserved towns in the North Berkshire/Franklin County communities will be able to get online," said Bosley. "I look forward to working with Verizon to roll out broadband in all of our communities."

Verizon High Speed Internet service pricing starts at $19.99 per month.

The service is delivered on a dedicated line from Verizon's central office to the customer's home and is backed by live, 24 x 7 customer service and technical support.  High Speed Internet subscribers have access to an extensive collection of features and services, including online protection with Verizon Internet Security Suite; Verizon Enhanced E-mail; Verizon Premium Tech Support; Online gaming; free news from ABC News Now; free sports from ESPN360; and more. 

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 69 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 228,600 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.