Verizon to Expand Its Fiber-Optic Network to 68,000 Additional Homes in Washington State's King and Snohomish Counties

EVERETT, Wash. - Verizon Communications Wednesday (Jan. 17) announced its plans for year two of its state-of-the-art FTTP (fiber-to-the-premises) network deployment in King and Snohomish counties.

The company said it will build the network this year in the Snohomish County communities of Edmonds, Everett, Lynnwood and Mill Creek, and in adjacent areas in the county.   The company also will continue its network expansion in the Bothell-Kenmore area, as well as in Kirkland and Redmond in King County.

A total of 68,000 additional homes in both counties will be connected to the FTTP network, which offers the fastest data speeds available to homeowners and small businesses and is capable of offering TV services in the future.

The network uses hair-thin strands of fiber and optical electronics to directly link homes and businesses to Verizon's network and replaces the traditional copper-wire connections.

"The FTTP project already has had a positive impact on the local economy, creating new jobs," said David S. Valdez, the company's vice president for the Northwest.  "We've employed hundreds of contractors to build the network, and we've hired 130 new Verizon employees who are designing the network, installing our FiOS broadband and voice services at customer homes, and providing technical support to them.

"More importantly, however, Verizon is offering consumers a choice by providing the best network available at a competitive price for voice, data and, eventually, TV," he added. 

Verizon expects to install more than 3 million feet   b of fiber-optic cabling throughout the two-county area by year-end 2007, passing about 125,000 homes and small businesses with fiber.   The company passed 57,000 homes in 2006.

Gov. Chris Gregoire and other state and local officials praised the FTTP project as good for the economy and for consumers.

"This announcement from Verizon is good news for the Washington economy," the governor said. "This investment means more family-wage jobs, continued innovation and better tools for home businesses and tele-workers.  Infrastructure improvements like this fiber network will increase our state's competitiveness and carry us into the digital era."

[Note:  See end of release for comments from other officials.]                 

More than 6 million homes and businesses in parts of 16 states are now passed by Verizon's all-fiber network, and the company expects its new network to pass about 18 million premises by the end of 2010.  Verizon had 522,000 FiOS (FYE'-ose) Internet customers at the end of the third quarter of 2006.

FiOS Internet service is offered in more than 1,600 communities in the 16 states where the company's new network is deployed: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Washington.  The company currently offers FiOS TV service in parts of ten states: California, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

In the Puget Sound area, Verizon will add about 170 full-time positions by the end of 2007. The jobs involve fiber splicing, installation and repair, engineering and technical support. The company also expects to hire about 350 contract employees by next summer to work on various aspects of the local FTTP project such as underground boring and fiber splicing. Fiber offers tremendous advantages to network operators, in addition to new and superior services for customers.  For example, fiber offers reliable service in stretches of wet weather that can affect copper-based networks. 

"Verizon's 100 percent fiber-optic network is technically superior to other communication platforms because it offers faster data speeds than those currently available, as well as voice and video capabilities," said Vickie Curry, Verizon's director of customer operations. "This new network will have greater reliability and lower maintenance costs. By deploying fiber to homes and businesses in our territory, Verizon is transforming its wireline business into 21st century technology."

Customer Feedback About Verizon Fiber Service Is Positive

Customer reaction to Verizon's FiOS service has been very positive, with broadband subscribers rapidly increasing in markets across the country.  Verizon will notify customers in Washington when FiOS is available locally.

"FiOS has been an extraordinary hit with our customers. People are literally lining up to get what they know is a fantastic service at an excellent price," said Curry. "The need for speed and ability to take advantage of bandwidth-intensive applications remain a top priority for all computer users."

There are three tiers of Verizon FiOS Internet service for consumers, with downstream (download) speeds of up to 5, 15, and 30 Mbps (megabits per second).*

  • 5 Mbps (megabits per second) downstream and 2 Mbps upstream. Suited for Internet surfing and basic computer functions. $34.95 a month as part of a calling package, or $39.95 a month stand-alone.

  • 15 Mbps downstream and 2 Mbps upstream. Appealing to families that have multiple computers and various needs such as media downloads and the ability to access or share large files. $44.95 a month as part of a calling package, or $49.95 a month stand-alone.

  • 30 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream. Designed for communications-intensive power users with significant bandwidth needs, such as telecommuters or work-at-home households and avid online gamers. $179.95 as part of a calling package, or $199.95 a month stand-alone.

The FTTP initiative represents a natural extension of the more than 10 million miles of fiber-optic cable Verizon already has in place and extends the high capacity, speed and quality of fiber directly to the customer's doorstep.  With FTTP technology, Verizon can easily add more capacity, higher speeds or video services in the future.

Verizon's digital subscriber line (DSL) service will remain the company's most widely available form of high-speed Internet access for the foreseeable future while the company ramps up FTTP deployment.  The company offers DSL on a widespread basis throughout Washington over existing copper lines at speeds of up to 3 Mbps.

* NOTE: Actual (throughput) speeds will vary.

What Others Are Saying About Verizon's FTTP Plan

"I applaud Verizon for the continued investment in advanced fiber-based technology in Snohomish County. This commitment means our county residents will have access to the fastest and most reliable data services available."
- Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon

"I support greater consumer choice in the high-tech marketplace, so Verizon's announcement is laudable. Technology can make a difference between communities that thrive and communities that do not. The ability for area residents to have new and advanced data applications is another building block for our future."
- State Sen. Jean Berkey, 38th District

"We are proud to be among the first cities in Washington to enjoy this substantial investment by Verizon, which will give our community access to excellent Internet connectivity. This fiber network is beneficial for our businesses and for economic development in the Everett area. Fiber to the premises will also contribute to an overall higher quality of life for our residents."
- Ray Stephanson, mayor, city of Everett

"The Everett Area Chamber is excited about the level of investment and commitment that Verizon has shown in Snohomish County. Providing Everett residents with affordable high-speed broadband is good business. We commend Verizon as a long-time and valued community partner, and we welcome this investment."
- Louise Stanton-Masten, president/CEO, Everett Area Chamber of Commerce

"As the South Snohomish County Chamber supports the business community, so does Verizon with this outstanding announcement. The continued expansion of Verizon's fiber-optic network is a boon for our community, as we see job growth, new services and economic development. Thank you, Verizon, for this commitment."
- Jean Hales, president/CEO, South County Chamber of Commerce

"I.B.E.W. Local 89 is a proud partner in building the fiber-optic network of the future, which is delivering services to customers today. This significant investment in a fiber infrastructure will help grow our industry and support job opportunities for union members. In our knowledge-based, high-tech economy, everyone -- from residents, employees, home-based businesses and telecommuters -- will reap the benefits."
- Ray Egelhoff, business manager/Financial Secretary, I.B.E.W. Local 89

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a New York-based Dow 30 company, 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 57 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks, and Verizon Telecom, which is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.