Verizon Delivers Another Strong Year of Service Quality in New York

NEW YORK - Verizon once again delivered high-quality local and long-distance phone services in New York during 2002, using one of the most advanced and reliable networks in the nation and continuing a trend begun in 1995.

"Strong results from almost every major indicator this year show that we're continuing our razor-sharp focus on delivering the best service possible in what is without a doubt the most competitive telecommunications marketplace in the country," said Paul A. Crotty, Verizon president for New York and Connecticut. "The rate of customer complaints to state regulators remained at or near historic lows as did the rate of customer-requested repairs, while we continued to invest heavily in the Verizon network that serves New Yorkers."

This year alone, Verizon has spent $1.5 billion on capital projects in New York - the bulk of which helped the company expand and modernize a statewide network that now features over 1.25 million miles of fiber optics, improve overall quality and expand the availability of products ranging from DSL (digital subscriber line) to Call Intercept, according to Crotty.

Since 1995, Verizon and its predecessor companies have dramatically reduced the rate of customer complaints to the New York Public Service Commission (PSC). Verizon has improved this measurement by over 50 percent, from a high of more than 13 complaints per 10,000 lines in 1995 to today's equivalent rate of about 4.4 complaints.

Further, under a three-year incentive regulatory plan approved by the PSC last year, Verizon must have fewer than 5.5 complaints per 10,000 customers annually - so the company is currently beating the regulatory target. The complaint rate is one of five overall measurements the company must meet annually or face paying rebates to customers.

"The customer complaint rate is important because it's determined by customers themselves and tracked through the commission," Crotty said. "In a similar vein, the vastly improved rate of repairs requested by customers, also known as the customer 'trouble-report rate,' is equally as important since it's determined by customers, too. The trouble report rate also is a very good indication of how well Verizon's network is performing."

During 1995, Verizon's trouble-report rate - or the number of repairs requested by customers per 100 phone lines - averaged about 3.8 in New York. These repair requests generally range from static on a line to a feature that doesn't work properly to a line that is out of service. Currently, Verizon's trouble report rate throughout New York is 2.6 per 100 lines, an improvement of about 30 percent over seven years. The PSC's target for the annual trouble report rate is 3.3 per 100 lines, so Verizon also is beating that target so far this year.

"These facts and others certainly belie claims made by union leaders recently as we deal with important decisions about reducing jobs in New York in the face of a challenging economy and real competition that now has over one-quarter of the phone lines in this state," Crotty said.

Verizon is measured monthly and annually by the PSC in three other areas: installations completed within five days, out-of-service phone lines that are not restored within 24 hours, and a so-called "outlier" measurement that represents a collection of eight other targets.

Verizon is currently beating the installation target of installing 80 percent of new lines within five days, with a current score of almost 86 percent. Verizon is also on track to meet or beat the collection of outlier measurements.

Following weather and other issues earlier this year, in October and November Verizon beat the monthly PSC target on out-of-service phone lines that are not restored within 24 hours. The target requires that less than 20 percent of those lines can remain out of service for more than 24 hours. From May through September, though, Verizon did exceed the target several times and now has an annual average of about 22 percent of lines out of service remaining that way more than 24 hours.

"We did have some challenges in that area over the summer, an annual trend we have seen historically due to weather and students and others moving in and out of college dormitories, apartments and other dwellings," Crotty said. "It would be a mistake, though, to focus on just one of the five major measurements and attempt to draw a trend, as the union leadership has done. The facts are simple: we have done quite well against four of the five major measurements so far this year and we have shown a strong recovery after missing the fifth target over the summer.

"Add this to the dramatic overall improvement we have seen since 1995 and you have a company that's keeping its eye on the most important ball: customer service," he said.

Verizon Communications

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 135.0 million access line equivalents and 31.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and more than 236,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 35 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.