Verizon Expands Special Support for Customers with Disabilities

OXNARD, Calif. - Continuing its mission to provide the greatest range of communication capabilities to customers with disabilities, Verizon today announced the expansion of its Oxnard Center for Customers with Disabilities to support customers in seven more states: Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

The Oxnard center, which opened in October, already provides service in eight states to residential customers who have hearing, vision, mobility, speech or cognitive disabilities. The states are: California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Washington.

The company's two centers for persons with disabilities now serve customers in 25 states, expanding a program begun in New England 11 years ago from Verizon's original care center in Marlboro, Mass. Support for customers in Delaware, Hawaii, New Jersey and Pennsylvania will be added in the future.

Specially trained service representatives staff the center from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, educating customers on ways Verizon's products and services can make communicating easier for people with disabilities. Representatives recommend solutions that involve basic and optional telephone services, directory assistance exemptions, discounts for customers who use text telephones, and phone bills in large print or Braille.

Representatives also have expertise in a full range of adaptive equipment, including amplified telephones and teletypewriters. Products and services will be packaged to provide the greatest value. Customers can call the center toll free at 800-974-6006, which also provides for direct text telephone (TTY) access.

"Verizon has an unwavering commitment to enable our customers with disabilities to communicate as easily as any other customer and to have access to the full range of Verizon's advanced telecommunications services," said Lisa Harrison-Burke, Verizon manager-diversity markets.

Verizon has earned numerous honors for its commitment to customers with disabilities. The company received the American Association of People with Disabilities' 2003 Justice for All Award for extraordinary contributions to the political and economic empowerment of children and adults with disabilities. Verizon also received the 2003 Helen Keller Achievement Award for commitment to improve literacy among the blind and visually impaired.

The company publishes an online newsletter geared to the interests of its 4.9 million customers with disabilities. The quarterly newsletter, called Forward Access, provides updates on technology for people with disabilities; government policies on accessibility; information on the use of telephone equipment; and links to helpful Web sites such as that of the American Association for People with Disabilities.

This year, Verizon conducted its first Braille direct-mail campaign to 70,000 customers, informing them about the Verizon Freedomsm package, which where available allows customers to combine local and long-distance calling, optional calling features, and DSL and wireless services on one bill -- and enjoy significant savings. Currently, the Verizon Freedomsm package is available in 27 states and the District of Columbia.

More information about Verizon's portfolio of products and services for customers with disabilities is available at www.verizon.com/disabilities.

A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $68 billion in annual revenues. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. Verizon's international presence includes wireline and wireless communications operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

Media contacts:

Jonathan Davies (Arizona, Nevada), 805-372-6969

Bob Elek (North Carolina, South Carolina), 813-483-2541

Kevin Laverty (Idaho, Oregon), 425-261-5855

Lou Ann Novak (Wisconsin), 715-847-1226