Verizon Announces Initiatives to Boost Broadband Availability in Indiana and Bring Fort Wayne Area Consumers One Step Closer to Real Choice for Cable TV

INDIANAPOLIS - Verizon today announced three major initiatives to make Indiana even more attractive for customers who want high-speed broadband services and video choice and for people who want to work in the communications industry.

The first initiative, to be completed by the end of next year, will give 70,000 southern Indiana customers in 69 rural communities greater access to high-speed digital subscriber line (DSL) service.  Verizon said it will offer DSL Internet service to nearly all Verizon-served markets south of I-70 that do not already have DSL, as well as four communities in northern Indiana.

Under the second initiative Verizon plans to offer its new fiber-based video service, FiOS TV, to residents in Fort Wayne and New Haven, starting next year.  To accomplish this, Verizon filed a formal application today with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission for a state-issued video franchise, and the company is constructing a video hub office in Fort Wayne to deliver video programming to more than 100,000 households.

Under the third initiative, Verizon will begin hiring 100 additional fiber technicians in January to stay ahead of the demand for the company's popular FiOS Internet Service and to help connect FiOS TV in customers' homes once the company begins offering the video service that presents consumers with a new choice for their cable television service.  Wages will range from $12.75 per hour to $20.22 per hour depending on experience, with total benefits for periods of six to 36 months.

Legislation Encourages Investment

Gov. Mitch Daniels encouraged the Indiana General Assembly to update Indiana's telecommunications laws during his 2006 State of the State address.  Rep. Mike Murphy and Sen. Brandt Hershman introduced legislation and worked tirelessly throughout the session to promote change.  HEA 1279 passed with overwhelming bipartisan support from both chambers and became law on March 14.

"Before passage of HEA 1279, Indiana ranked 34th in the nation regarding broadband penetration," said Hershman. "With this reform, Indiana became one of the top destinations for telecommunications investment in the country, allowing underserved areas, both urban and rural, to enjoy the economic benefits of high-speed Internet access."

Said Murphy: "We last updated our telecom laws in 1985, long before the Internet and cell phones were on the scene.  HEA 1279 will bring needed infrastructure upgrades that will encourage more competition from more companies. This is good news for consumers."

Next year, Indiana customers from Clay City to Corydon, and from Westport to Princeton, will be able to sign up for Verizon DSL service, said Gale Given, Verizon Great Lakes region president for public policy.

"We are excited about offering more people a new choice for fast Internet access at an affordable price, with a multitude of services that will help them get the most from their broadband connection," said Given.

Verizon DSL Service Delivers Customers Fast, High-Quality Performance

The DSL upgrade is part of Verizon's nationwide effort to deliver high-speed Internet service to more of its customers across the country.

Consumers in Indiana can visit www.verizon.net to see if Verizon Online DSL is available to their homes and to order service.  Consumer DSL service with an annual service plan ranges from a maximum connection speed of up to 768 Kbps downstream and 128 Kbps upstream for just $23.99 per month, to a maximum connection speed of up to 3.0 Mbps (megabits per second) downstream and 768 Kbps (kilobits per second) upstream for $33.99 per month.

Both plans include 24/7 technical support, a 30-day money-back guarantee, a choice of free Verizon Yahoo! or MSN Premium services, nine e-mail accounts and 10 MB (megabytes) of personal Web space. 

Verizon Online DSL members can make the most of their high-speed connections through access to a variety of great online experiences, including the most extensive collection of online content anywhere from Disney and ESPN Networks. This programming includes live breaking news from ABC News Now, family games and entertainment with Disney Connection, sports action and exclusive game broadcasts from ESPN360, full-screen film trailers and movie news from Movies.com MAX, and original soap opera programming and soap news from SOAPNETIC.

Verizon also has a number of DSL plans that offer excellent value for business customers, with maximum connection speeds ranging from up to 768 Kbps/128 Kbps to up to 7.1 Mbps/768 Kbps.   For more information on business DSL offerings, visit www.verizon.com.

FiOS Service Offers Super-Fast Internet Speeds and Amazing Video

Verizon, provider of the nation's most comprehensive all-digital, fiber network, last year began offering its FiOS Internet Service in the Fort Wayne area. Verizon launched its FiOS TV service in September 2005 in North Texas, and currently offers it in parts of California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Virginia.

The company has video franchises covering approximately 3.6 million households in nine states and more than 200 franchise areas.  As the fiber network is fully deployed in franchise areas, Verizon will provide consumers with the opportunity to choose FiOS TV.

Verizon's FiOS TV service is designed to be a formidable competitor to cable and satellite, offering a broad collection of all-digital programming, more than 20 high-definition channels, video on demand and more.  It is delivered over Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network, which has industry-leading quality and reliability.  Verizon is the first company to offer such a communications network, connecting homes and businesses directly to fiber optics on a widespread scale.  Only Verizon's FTTP network has earned the certification of the independent Fiber to the Home Council for providing fiber all the way to customers' homes and businesses.

Verizon's fiber network delivers amazingly sharp pictures and sound, and has the capacity to transmit a wide array of high-definition programming that is so clear and intense it seems to leap from the TV screen.  In addition to FiOS TV, Verizon's fiber network also allows the company to offer consumers and businesses high-speed FiOS Internet service at download speeds of up to 30 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps.*

* NOTE: actual (throughput) speeds will vary.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a New York-based Dow 30 company, 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 57 million customers nationwide.  Verizon Business operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks.  Verizon Telecom is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.