HARRISBURG, Pa. - Verizon customers in the former GTE areas of Pennsylvania will see stable phone rates and the deployment of a state-of-the-art broadband telecommunications network under an alternative regulatory plan approved for Verizon North by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC).
The plan outlines the company's intentions to upgrade its telecommunications network and simplifies the regulatory process for setting local telephone rates for customers of Verizon North, the company formerly known as GTE North in Pennsylvania. Verizon filed the plan under Chapter 30 of the state Public Utility Code, which gives telephone companies the option of requesting an alternative form of regulation from the PUC.
"This plan ensures the reliability and affordability of local phone service for our customers," said Daniel J. Whelan, president and CEO of Verizon Pennsylvania. "It also gives us the flexibility to modernize our network to meet the need for broadband telecommunications by customers in both rural and urban areas."
The approved alternative regulatory plan for Verizon North simplifies the regulatory reviews Verizon must have to offer consumers products and services at competitive rates. Under the new plan, rates for basic local phone service are now regulated by price instead of profits, and price changes are tied to the rate of inflation. Rates for residential basic local telephone services are capped through the end of 2003.
Under the plan, a number of services are now considered competitive, giving Verizon the same flexibility to price its services as its competitors. These services include billing and collection services for other telecom companies, directory advertising, Centranet business service, optional services such as Speed Call and Last Number Redial, and regional toll services.
The plan outlines the company's blueprint for accelerating the deployment of a broadband network leading to universal broadband availability by Dec. 31, 2015. Verizon currently expects to use digital subscriber line (DSL) technology to provide universal broadband accessibility, but the plan enables Verizon to use other technologies as circumstances may warrant.
"Verizon will continue to deploy broadband services in our network to ensure that Pennsylvania remains competitive with neighboring states," said Whelan. "This is a good plan for consumers and Verizon. It allows us to better respond to our customers by offering new and enhanced services at competitive rates, while keeping basic local service affordable."
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 135.1 million access line equivalents and 30.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 241,000 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.