LOYALSOCK, Pa. - Verizon customers in Loyalsock, Barbours, Brookside, Ralston and Trout Run can now choose from an array of popular advanced calling features, including Caller ID, Automatic Call Return and Automatic Busy Redial.
Verizon recently upgraded its digital switching equipment in the Loyalsock area to make these services available. The company agreed to accelerate the deployment of these calling features as part of the commitments made in Pennsylvania in connection with the June 2000 merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic to form Verizon. The project is part of a three-year, $210 million investment by Verizon in its telecommunications infrastructure in the former GTE service areas of Pennsylvania.
"Verizon customers continue to benefit from our merger as we work hard to give them access to the most advanced telecommunications network available," said Daniel J. Whelan, president of Verizon Pennsylvania. "These new calling features allow customers to control their communications in a number of beneficial ways."
One popular new feature, Caller ID, can show when friends or family members are calling and can deter harassing calls. With Caller ID - Number, a customer can see the telephone number of who's calling on a display unit that is built in or attached to the phone. The customer can then decide whether or not to answer the phone. The monthly cost for the service is $7 for residential customers and $10 for businesses. Caller ID - Name and Number, which lets customers see both the caller's name and number, is $7.95 per month for residential customers and $11.50 per month for businesses. The Caller ID display unit is extra and can be purchased at many retail stores.
Callers with unlisted phone numbers and others who wish to protect their privacy can prevent their numbers from showing on a Caller ID unit. This can be done on a per-call basis or "all-calls" basis. Both options are free.
In addition to Caller ID, other new services that are available include:
Anonymous Call Block: This service, which can be activated by Caller ID customers, blocks calls when callers have prevented their phone number from being displayed on a Caller ID unit. Callers hear an announcement telling them their call will not go through unless they allow their number to be displayed. The cost is $1 per month.
Automatic Busy Redial: Subscribers can enter *66 on their phone, and this service will keep trying a busy number for up to 30 minutes. Customers with rotary or pulse-dialing phones can enter "1166." When the call goes through, the person trying to call is alerted with a special ring. The cost to residential customers for the service is $5 per month; for business customers, the cost is $6.
Automatic Call Return: Callers can enter the code *69 ("1169" for rotary or pulse-dialing phones) on their phone and this service will automatically dial the number of the last call received, whether the call was answered or not. The monthly cost is $5 for residential customers and $6 for business customers.
Call Block: This security feature rejects calls from up to 12 numbers chosen by the customer. The caller hears a recorded message when the call is not completed. The monthly charge for residential customers is $3. For business customers, the monthly charge is $4.
Call Tracing: If a customer enters *57 ("1157" for rotary or pulse-dialing phones) after receiving a threatening or harassing call, the caller's number is captured by Verizon's phone equipment. If the customer reports the call to law enforcement, Verizon will provide the number to authorities investigating the incident. No subscription is required for this service, which costs $1 per use.
Special Call Acceptance: This allows a customer to select specific phone numbers (12 maximum) from which they want to receive calls. Callers that dial from a phone number not on the list will hear an announcement that the called party is not presently accepting calls. The cost is $3 per month for residential customers; $4 per month for business customers.
Special Call Forwarding: Customers can use this customized call forwarding service to specify which calls (from as many as 12 different numbers) should be forwarded. Customers do not need to have basic Call Forwarding to subscribe to this service. The monthly charge is $5 for residential customers; $4 per month for business customers.
VIP Alert: This service identifies with a special ring those callers (up to 12 phone numbers) selected by a customer as "Very Important People." The monthly cost to residential customers for the service is $3; the cost to business customers is $4.
Many of these features are available in packages at discount rates. For more information about these services, residential customers should contact Verizon customer service at 1-800-483-4000. Business customers should call 1-800-483-5000.
The addition of the new calling services is one of several benefits customers have experienced since the merger's completion. Last August, the company introduced two new options for limited-income households, providing local phone service at reduced costs. In September, Verizon eliminated the monthly Touch-Calling charge paid by former GTE customers in Pennsylvania, saving them nearly $10 million a year.
- Capping rates through 2003. Verizon will cap residential rates for basic local service in Pennsylvania through 2003.
- Cutting rates in parts of rural Pennsylvania. By July 1, 2002, Verizon will lower basic service rates in certain rural portions of Pennsylvania formerly served by GTE. The new rates will be the same as the former Bell Atlantic's rates in comparable areas, saving customers approximately $5 million a year.
- Continuing high levels of network investment. Verizon will continue to enhance its Pennsylvania telecommunications network, with a commitment to invest approximately $2.5 billion from 2000 through 2002. This will help expand the availability of the latest technologies and services in rural, suburban and urban areas of the state.
- Reducing access charges, unbundled loop rates. Verizon will substantially decrease the prices long-distance and competing local phone companies pay to complete calls over Verizon's network, as well as the prices companies pay Verizon to lease parts of its network to provide competing local phone service.
Other merger commitments include:
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 112 million access line equivalents and 27 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.