Telecom Industry Must Focus on Customers, as Needs Grow, Seidenberg Tells SUPERCOMM Audience

CHICAGO - Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg called on telecom industry leaders today to keep up the pace of investment in America's broadband infrastructure because customers need and are demanding it.

"We need to put our customers first and give them the kinds of products and services that will unleash the potential of technology to enhance their lives," Seidenberg said in his keynote address at SUPERCOMM. Some 25,000 telecom industry executives are attending the three-day conference for communications service providers.

"That means making speed, mobility and interactivity part of our DNA," Seidenberg said. "It means getting on the upside of the changes in technology and competition. And it means growing our businesses the way other technology-driven industries do - through investment and innovation." He also emphasized:

"It's important for us, for the industry, for the nation that we keep our foot on the accelerator when it comes to broadband investment."

A new generation of technologies and a new generation of consumers have made convergence a reality - and in the process, turned America into a broadband nation, Seidenberg said. He defined the new breed of customer as "media-saturated multi-taskers who expect to get what they want, wherever they are, on whatever device they happen to have in hand - and they want to do it all at the same time."

Citing a projected nine-percent revenue growth in telecommunications equipment sales this year, stemming from the industry's investment in new networks and technologies, Seidenberg said "they are proving a crucial factor in restoring the U.S. to leadership in a key growth market for the future."

"Investment in new technology platforms not only expands the pie for Verizon, it helps grow the market for everyone," he said.

He cautioned, however, that the industry needs to resolve some policy issues that are affecting the pace of deployment.

"We need to find the best way to protect the value of intellectual content in a digital universe," he said. "We need to update the telecom laws for the 21st century, particularly those related to broadband services. And we need to simplify and reform the franchising process that is acting as a barrier to video competition."

Seidenberg said Verizon is reinventing its networks with its deployment of wireless broadband through EV-DO technology in more than 30 major markets across the country and its commitment to taking fiber all the way to homes and businesses. He said his company has invested more than $73 billion in its networks since the year 2000 - more than any other telecom or cable company.

Verizon is on track to expand EV-DO to 150 million wireless customers, deploy its fiber-to-the-premises services, called FiOS, to 3 million wireline customers by the end of this year, and "expand as fast as the technology and the marketplace will allow in the years ahead," Seidenberg said.

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 212,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 45.5 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.