Verizon Adds 50 New Technicians' Jobs in Illinois

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Verizon is adding 50 new jobs to create a unit that will protect service to business and residence customers throughout the state by helping to ensure that the company's underground facilities are not accidentally damaged by excavation work.

The new employees are specially trained technicians who will be responsible for identifying and marking with paint or colored flags the company's underground telephone cables, wiring and equipment in areas where any kind of digging is scheduled to take place.

"Hiring, training and deploying this new group of technicians underscores Verizon's commitment to maintain and protect our reliable state-of-the-art network throughout Illinois," said Roger Baldwin, area manager for Verizon's National Buried Service Wire Group in Bloomington, who will oversee the new unit.

"Today, we often take the reliability of telecommunications for granted. You place a call and rightfully assume it will quickly be completed. But a bulldozer operator, farmer or weekend landscaper can disrupt telephone and crucial emergency services, simply by accidentally nicking an underground cable. It is Verizon's goal to prevent such incidents from occurring by accurately marking our underground facilities."

Previously, Verizon had used an outside contractor to perform this function. The new unit, which began operating today (July 1), will be more efficient and will be able to locate Verizon's underground facilities more quickly by using the most up-to-date laptop computers and an automated routing process.

The new Verizon unit interacts with the Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators Inc. (JULIE), a not-for-profit corporation that serves as a notification service to anyone - homeowner or professional excavator -- for identifying and marking underground facilities. JULIE is a free service that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A person calling (toll-free at 1-800-892-0123) gives the JULIE operator the exact address, location and date of the proposed digging project, and JULIE then notifies the appropriate utility company.

Since 1991, Illinois law requires all persons planning to dig to call JULIE two working days in advance. This allows utility companies enough time to mark their respective buried facilities at the excavation site. Last year, more than 1 million locate requests were handled through JULIE.

"What impresses me most about our new technicians is the intense dedication and thoroughness they demonstrated throughout their training," Baldwin said. "I am confident they will quickly and accurately locate and mark the company's underground facilities and thus help ensure that Verizon's network is protected and provides uninterrupted service to our customers."

A Fortune 10 company, 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 136.6 million access line equivalents and
33.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third-largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 13.2 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 227,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.