Verizon Expands Special Support for Customers With Disabilities

MARLBORO, Mass. - Continuing its mission to provide the greatest range of communication capabilities to customers with disabilities, Verizon today announced the expansion of its eastern Center for Customers with Disabilities to support customers in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The center, located here, already provides service to residential customers in New England and New York who have hearing, vision, mobility, speech or cognitive disabilities.

The center, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2002, will cover residents of the Potomac region beginning today, followed in 2004 by the addition of residents of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Verizon opened a similar center in October in Oxnard, Calif., to serve customers in that state. The Oxnard center began serving customers located in Texas on Dec. 1 and will expand its services next year to millions of additional customers from Hawaii to Florida.

Eight specially trained service representatives staff the Marlboro center from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, educating customers on ways Verizon's products and services can make communicating easier for people with disabilities. Representatives will 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. Called Forward Access, the quarterly newsletter 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. Verizon Freedom calling plans are available in 27 states, with Verizon Freedom Unlimited all-distance, flat-rate calling available to consumers in 11 states and the District of Columbia.

More information about Verizon's portfolio of products and services for customer 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 $67 billion in revenues. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with more than 139 million access line equivalents and 36 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with nearly 16 million long-distance lines. The company 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.