Verizon Expands Its Industry-Leading All-Fiber-Optic Network to 21,000 Consumers in the Venice, Fla., Area

VENICE, Fla. - Verizon is bringing one of the most significant advancements in telecommunications technology in the past 100 years to 21,000 of its customers in Sarasota County.

The company began deploying its all-digital, fiber-optic network upgrade in Venice this week as part of its continuing fiber network expansion in Florida.  When completed, it will deliver crystal-clear voice service and the company's FiOS (FYE'-ose) services - much higher broadband Internet speeds and a full suite of video services - to 21,000 residence and small-business customers.  Verizon will complete construction for the network in the majority of Venice this year and start providing FiOS services now enjoyed by consumers in other areas of Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

Verizon is currently constructing fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks in more than half the states where it offers landline communications services.  In Florida, the company has passed nearly 600,000 households with fiber and expects to add 300,000 more households this year.  More construction will follow in 2008 and beyond as the fiber network is expanded. Verizon is the first and only company to connect homes and businesses directly to fiber optics on a widespread scale.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime transformation of the communications network serving Venice consumers and our other properties in Florida," said Alan Ciamporcero, Verizon's president of the Southeast region.  "We are building the communications network of the future to provide customers unmatched network reliability, incredible speed and exciting new options for voice, data and video connections.

"Our FTTP project will help stimulate economic development and enhance Venice and Sarasota County as a great place to live and do business."

Once installed, additional work must be completed before the company can begin offering its high-speed Internet connections, and then its video service, to the community.  Both services are expected to be available to areas of Venice later this year, with more to follow.

"Based on what we've seen and heard from customers who are enjoying our FiOS services," Ciamporcero said, "my advice to Venice residents is: 'Don't commit to any long-term telecommunications options in the area, regardless of how good they might sound, until you have the opportunity to choose what works best.'

"FiOS has been an extraordinary hit with our customers in Sarasota, Bradenton and in the broader Tampa Bay region. People are literally lining up to get what they know is a fantastic service at an excellent price," said Ciamporcero.

There are three tiers of Verizon FiOS Internet Service for consumers, with downstream (download) speeds of up to 5, 20 and 50 Mbps (megabits per second).*

  • 5 Mbps downstream and 2 Mbps upstream.  Suited for Internet surfing and basic computer functions. $34.95 a month with a one-year agreement or $39.95 a month stand-alone.  One-year agreement includes free professional installation and configuration of primary PC or laptop.

  • 20 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream.  Appealing for families that have multiple computers and various needs such as multi-media and the ability to access and send large files.  $44.95 a month with a one-year agreement or $49.95 a month stand-alone.  One-year agreement includes free professional installation and configuration of primary PC or laptop.

  • 50 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.  $139.95 a month with a one-year agreement or $159.95 a month stand-alone.  One-year agreement includes free professional installation and configuration of primary PC or laptop.

Service highlights for FiOS TV include a better-quality picture, more high-definition and on-demand programs, and more reliable service at competitive prices than its competitors. Verizon's FiOS TV Premier package delivers more than 200 all-digital channels, including a diverse array of multicultural programming, for $42.99 per month.  In Florida, the package includes 26 high-definition (HD) channels, with most of those included in the Premier package.  Verizon offers a video-on-demand library of 8,600 titles, and 60 percent of those selections are available without an additional charge.

FiOS TV features entertainment in a variety of languages in addition to its English-language programming.  Spanish-speaking viewers can choose La Conexion, a package of 140 popular English and Spanish-language channels for $32.99 per month, or a Spanish-language package for $11.99 per month.  Verizon also offers 17 international premium channels in languages such as Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.

Verizon offers innovative features not available from other providers, such as Home Media DVR (digital video recorder) and FiOS TV Widgets. Home Media DVR, at $19.99 per month, allows the family to use one DVR to access recorded programming from multiple rooms in the house. Customers also can access photos and music on their PCs and play them on their TV.  FiOS TV Widgets is a free interactive feature that provides viewers with local weather and traffic information while they're watching their favorite shows.

Small and medium-sized businesses in Venice will be able to choose from new increased speeds with either a dynamic Internet protocol (IP) address or static IP address:

  • Up to 20 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream (increased from 15/2), for $59.95 a month with a dynamic IP address and $99.95 a month with up to five static IP addresses.

  • Up to 35 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream (increased from 5/5), for $169.95 a month with a dynamic IP address and $209.95 with up to five static IP addresses.

  • Up to 50 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream (increased from 30/5), for $349.95 a month with a dynamic IP address and $389.95 a month with up to five static IP addresses.

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 Florida.

* NOTE: Actual (throughput) speeds will vary.

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 more than 59 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.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of approximately 242,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.