Verizon Executive Says Broadband Empowers Fort Wayne Area Consumers and Businesses to Compete

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Broadband technologies and the applications that run on the ultra-fast, hair-thin strands of fiber are transforming how residents of the Fort Wayne area - and the rest of America -- live and work, and the future holds unlimited potential, according to Tom Tauke, executive vice president, public affairs, policy and communications for Verizon.

"In today's increasingly interconnected world, broadband is no longer viewed as a luxury or a perk," Tauke said during his luncheon keynote speech at the Killer App Expo in Fort Wayne Tuesday (May 1). "Broadband has become a necessity, and consumers increasingly view broadband as a basic utility, like water or electricity."

Fort Wayne is the only Midwest market where Verizon has deployed fiber straight to consumers' homes.  Locally, the company has deployed more than 9 million feet of fiber throughout Fort Wayne and New Haven, enabling 130,000 households and small businesses to order crystal-clear voice and the fastest broadband data services in the market. 

Thousands of local residents have already subscribed to Verizon's lightning-fast FiOS (FYE'ose) Internet service, which offers download speeds up to 30 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds up to 5 Mbps.  Verizon plans to launch its FiOS TV service in the Fort Wayne area later this year, offering consumers real video choice. The Killer App Expo, a conference presented by Broadband Properties magazine, showcases current and future applications including programs for use by business, consumers, educators, government and health care practitioners.

Broadband is driving change on two levels, said Tauke.

First, broadband empowers individual users, and, second, it serves as the great equalizer in an economy that places increasingly greater value on information and innovation, he said.  In a broadband economy, said Tauke, an entrepreneur in Fort Wayne can compete against a larger company located thousands of miles away. 

"It is not an accident that Fort Wayne, a fully wired community, has a 4 percent annual economic growth rate that outpaces the rest of the state," Tauke said.

Tauke congratulated Fort Wayne Mayor Graham Richard for his forward-looking vision for Fort Wayne.

"Where others saw a city in transition from manufacturing, Mayor Richard saw a city that could be a center for innovation and global businesses," Tauke said.  "Where some saw an inefficient government, Mayor Richard saw an opportunity to enhance and expand public services."

Verizon is currently constructing fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks in more than half the states where it offers landline communications services.  Verizon, the first company to connect homes and businesses directly to fiber optics on a widespread scale, offers its FiOS voice and Internet service in more than 1,700 cities in parts of 16 states, and provides its FiOS TV service in more than 400 communities in parts of 10 states.

"We've built a network that is future proof," said Tauke. "Our fiber-optic network is already designed to support up to 100 megabits per second of capacity, and as the needs of consumers and the network evolve, we have the ability to create even more capacity.

"While other cities are debating the merits of deploying fiber in their communities or whether to encourage broadband networks, Fort Wayne has done it," said Tauke. "What is still a vision for many other communities is already a reality here in Fort Wayne."

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 60.7 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 has a diverse workforce of more than 238,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.