WASHINGTON - Verizon Communications today received approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to offer long-distance service in Vermont. The company said it would launch its simple, easy-to-use calling plans in Vermont later this month.
"This clears the way for consumers and businesses in Vermont to be able to get all their telecommunications services from Verizon, a company they know and trust," said Tom Tauke, Verizon senior vice president of public policy and external affairs.
Vermont is the sixth state in which Verizon has received the approval required by the 1996 Telecommunications Act to offer long-distance service. Vermont joins three other New England states - Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island - where Verizon has federal approval to offer long distance. The FCC will rule on long-distance applications for Maine and New Jersey by the end of June.
"Our customers in all the New England states have had to wait too long to take advantage of the benefits that occur when Verizon is allowed to compete fully in the telecommunications marketplace," Tauke said.
In December 1999, Verizon (then Bell Atlantic) was the first regional Bell company allowed to offer long-distance service in its local service area when it won approval to sell such services in New York.
"Today's FCC action takes Vermont to a new level of telecom competition," said Louise McCarren, president of Verizon Vermont. "We expect the telecommunications competitive marketplace will heat up as competitors hone their offerings to enter the local market, while Verizon begins to compete for long-distance customers. Consumers, of course, will be the big winners."
The presence of Verizon Long Distance in new Northeast markets has ignited competition. Consumers are saving $1.8 billion annually from local and long-distance competition associated with Verizon's entry into long-distance markets in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, according to independent studies.
Verizon plans to launch its long-distance calling plans in Vermont later this month. (For more information on Verizon's long-distance offerings, visit the company's Web site at www.verizonld.com.)
"Verizon will offer a surprise-free menu of long-distance services that provide great value," said Jill Wagner, vice president-retail consumer marketing for Verizon. "We plan to help our customers harness the power of telecommunications with one supplier, one bill and easy-to-understand service packages that meet their unique requirements."
"Today's decision helps level the competitive playing field," said McCarren. "Until today, Vermont consumers could buy all their telecommunications services only from our competitors - from local to regional calling, long-distance and data services. Verizon now can enter the competitive market in the state offering all these services, and we're looking forward to it."
Verizon, the country's fourth largest long-distance company, now offers long-distance service in 41 states and recently announced that it had eight million long-distance customers.
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 132.1 million access line equivalents and 29.4 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 247,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.