Verizon and Penn's Northeast Launch Major Economic Development Initiative

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A new marketing campaign touting the advantages of doing business in Northeast Pennsylvania will premier tonight at Lackawanna College's Mellow Theater in Scranton as Verizon and Penn's Northeast launch "Region of Choice."

Verizon produced "Penn's Northeast: The Perfect Pace... The Perfect Place" for Penn's Northeast and Partners, which represent public and private economic development agencies dedicated to assisting businesses interested in locating within Northeast Pennsylvania. Participating partners are from Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill and Wayne counties.

The comprehensive marketing campaign includes a multi-media presentation available in VHS, computer disc, and in DVD formats, along with a direct mail piece, logo and graphics that have been developed to support other Penn's Northeast marketing materials.

"Verizon developed the Region of Choice program because we believe communities need to take bold initiatives to ensure their position in economic development -- particularly in these times of unexpected change, limited resources and a slow economy," said James V. O'Rourke, president and CEO, Verizon Pennsylvania. "Northeast Pennsylvania is a great place to live and work, and this partnership among communities will help spread the word."

Northeastern Pennsylvania was one of only two areas selected in 2002 by Verizon under its Region of Choice program, a nationwide competition that last year involved 15 Verizon markets. Region of Choice is a regional business development and attraction strategy that markets a region as a collective economic unit.

"This is by far the most comprehensive marketing effort that Penn's Northeast has undertaken," said James A. Cummings, president of Penn's Northeast. "Just as Lackawanna College brought life back to one of the region's architectural and cultural gems by restoring the elegant auditorium now named The Mellow Theater, the Northeast is poised to shine its light on Pennsylvania's economy through a unified approach that will showcase the seven-county region as a great place to do business."

Verizon Pennsylvania has invested more than $7.6 billion in its network over the past nine years. More than 1.2 million miles of high-quality, high-speed fiber optics have been deployed by the company in its service territory, including within the seven-county area of the Northeast.

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.