WASHINGTON - Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) today received approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to offer long-distance service in Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., capping a seven-year, 14-jurisdiction marathon to become a full-service telecommunications competitor.
"At long last, consumers and businesses in every market we serve have another option for long-distance voice and data connectivity to just about anywhere," said Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon CEO.
Verizon will launch its long-distance calling plans in Maryland, West Virginia and the District of Columbia in the coming weeks.
"Verizon will offer a menu of long-distance plans and packages that provide customers with great value," said Maura Breen, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon's Retail Markets unit. "We offer our customers the ease and convenience of having one supplier, one bill and easy-to-understand service packages designed to meet their unique calling needs."
Data customers also win with today's decision. Under the company's Enterprise Advance initiative, Verizon will meet the regional and national data and voice needs of its large business customers using an advanced, multiple-protocol nationwide network that will connect the company's world-class metropolitan area networks. This network will interconnect businesses' work sites no matter what type of local data connection they use.
When Verizon launches long-distance in the last three jurisdictions, the company will serve 49 states and the District of Columbia. The company is not currently offering service in Alaska.
Since Verizon has been permitted to offer long-distance service, it has brought innovative service packages to the consumer market. One package bundles local, regional and long-distance calling, call management services, high-speed Internet access and wireless services at up to 30 percent off list prices. In a recent innovation, the company introduced a plan that offers unlimited all-distance calling for a fixed monthly price. Small business customers will enjoy similar unlimited voice plans in the near future.
Verizon today has more than 10.4 million long-distance customers and is the country's third-largest long-distance company. Verizon (then Bell Atlantic) became the first Bell company to gain permission under the 1996 Telecommunications Act to offer long-distance to its local service customers when it won FCC approval for New York in December 1999. With today's FCC decision, Verizon completes the process and now has FCC permission to offer long-distance service anywhere in the United States.
"With this approval, the FCC has declared that Verizon's local markets are completely and irrevocably open to competition, an important thing to remember as the industry and regulators continue to debate traditional voice regulation for local wholesale markets," said Seidenberg.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.8 million access line equivalents and 32.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and 229,500 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to 33 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.