Verizon Completes 2008 Broadband Project, Bringing Faster Online Access to Thousands in Western Mass.

COLRAIN, Mass. - Verizon announced on Wednesday (Oct. 29) the completion of its multimillion-dollar, privately funded 2008 network expansion project in western Massachusetts, bringing broadband to thousands of residents who have never been able to access the Internet at such fast speeds.

Consumers and businesses in 24 rural communities in western Massachusetts have access to the Internet - at rocket speeds powered by Verizon.

Verizon's High Speed Internet service is now being offered in most areas of Heath and Leyden, the last of those 24 communities. Recently, Verizon introduced the service in the western Massachusetts communities of Blandford, Becket, Colrain, Cummington, Florida, Goshen, Hancock, Leverett, Middlefield, Monroe, Montgomery, New Ashford, New Marlborough, Pelham, Plainfield, Rowe, Sandisfield, Tolland, Washington, Westhampton, Windsor and Worthington. In addition, Verizon has made its High Speed Internet service more widely available in Shutesbury. The project is completely funded by Verizon, which is investing an additional $200 million in Massachusetts this year to expand its world-class broadband network.

Verizon's reliable and value-packed High Speed Internet service will give Internet users the ability to download at speeds of 768 Kbps (kilobits per second), 21 times faster than the current dial-up capability.  Verizon's High Speed Internet service offers speeds faster than cable often actually delivers at a price the competition can't match.

"We are proud to be able to bring the benefits of broadband Internet service to consumers in these communities," said Donna C. Cupelo, Verizon region president for Massachusetts and Rhode Island. "Verizon's investments in Massachusetts have been and will continue to be a major contributor to growing the state's economy."

Cupelo said Verizon and other companies expect to be exploring ways to further expand broadband availability in western Massachusetts through the governor's broadband bill.

Verizon is notifying potential customers of the availability of the service in a number of ways, including direct mail, media advertising and contact with local officials in each community. Consumers can call 1-800-870-9999 or visit www.verizon.com to order the service or to determine whether the service is available to their home or business. Spanish-speaking customers can call 1-800-430-2222.

Verizon's High Speed Internet service is now available to 70 percent of the company's customer lines, on average, in the 24 towns. The new broadband deployment of Verizon's High Speed Internet network now reaches three-fourths of the western Massachusetts communities identified by the state as having no high speed broadband services.

Prices for Verizon High Speed Internet service start at $19.99 per month.

The service is delivered on a dedicated line from Verizon's central office to the customer's home and is backed by live, 24 x 7 customer service and technical support.  High Speed Internet subscribers have access to an extensive collection of features and services, including online protection with Verizon Internet Security Suite; Verizon Enhanced Email; Verizon Premium Tech Support; Online gaming, free news from ABC News Now; free sports from ESPN360; and more. 

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, 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 71 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 228,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.