Verizon Investment in Maine Communications Network Tops Over $100 Million Again This Year

PORTLAND, Maine -- Maine consumers and businesses are served by one of the most advanced telecommunications networks in the country, thanks to continued aggressive network investment by Verizon during 2001.

The company this year spent more than $100 million to modernize, expand, and upgrade its Maine network. Verizon has invested more than $500 million in Maine over the last five years.

The funds were used primarily to expand the company's fiber-optic facilities as well as equip call-routing centers with the most up-to-date software and hardware.

Verizon's 140 switching centers throughout the state already use digital technology systems. The company's network in Maine is valued at over $1.5 billion.

"Verizon's state-of-the-art network provides our Maine customers with the benefits of the latest telecommunications applications and unsurpassed reliability," said Edward Dinan, president of Verizon Maine.

Nationwide, Verizon invests more than $11 billion annually in its wireline telecommunications network, which is one of the most advanced in the world and features an industry-leading 8.3 million miles of fiber-optic facilities.

In Maine, Verizon added close to 5,000 miles of fiber-optic cable this year. This brings Verizon Maine's overall fiber-optic network to more than 117,000 miles or enough to circle the Earth nearly five times. Fiber-optic systems use laser-generated light pulses and digital technology to provide greater capacity, diversity of routing, higher transmission speeds and better quality for voice, video and data transmitted over the network.

"Verizon's state-of-the-art telecommunications continues to position Maine for future economic growth," Dinan said. "We are proud of our role in bringing the benefits of telecommunications to every corner of Maine."

Long-Distance Filing Planned in Early 2002

Verizon has opened its network and systems in Maine to competition by investing in advanced computer systems and providing space for competitor's equipment in Verizon's switching centers throughout the state. Competitors now have access to more than 70 percent of the state's business telephone lines, and more than 40 companies are authorized to sell local phone service. Verizon is required to open its local markets before it can gain federal approval to sell long distance in a given state.

In October, Verizon asked the Maine Public Utilities Commission to support Verizon's application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for approval to offer long distance.

Since December 1999, Verizon has won approval to offer long-distance service in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. The result has been significant choice and savings for consumers in states where Verizon has been allowed to compete for long distance. Millions of them are getting lower prices and clear, surprise-free, long-distance calling plans from Verizon.

The FCC is currently considering the company's applications to offer long distance in Rhode Island and New Jersey. In early 2002, the company expects to file for federal approvals in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

"We look forward to offering savings similar to those enjoyed by Verizon customers in Massachusetts and New York," Dinan said.

Verizon Gives Back to the Community

Through Verizon Foundation, Verizon this year gave more than $500,000 in grants and matching contributions to 60 nonprofit programs throughout Maine. In addition, Verizon employees volunteered thousands of hours to these programs.

"Verizon and its employees have a long tradition of giving in this state," Dinan said. "Our roots remain firmly planted in the diverse neighborhoods where we work and live, and our commitment to service is a vital part of the Verizon promise to all our customers."

Other milestones the company achieved in Maine during 2001:

  • Enhanced Verizon Online DSL (digital subscriber line) high-speed Internet access service. The company introduced new options that allow customers to share one DSL connection among multiple computers in a home or office. This service is available to more than 160,000 of Verizon's 700,000 access lines throughout Maine. With more than one million DSL-equipped lines in service nationwide, Verizon one of the leading providers of business and residential high-speed Internet access.

  • Enhanced the reliability of Verizon's telecommunications network throughout the state by adding fiber-optic facilities, called SONET rings, that provide high-speed capacity and a self-healing feature that automatically reroutes phone calls and data in the event of a fiber cut.

  • Continued to support literacy initiatives in Maine, including the widely acclaimed Read With ME program. Read With ME is a unique collaboration between the Office of the First Lady, Maine's Family Literacy Task Force, Maine Public Broadcasting, and the Verizon Foundation which distributes nearly 18,000 books to kindergarten students across Maine with the help of 150 volunteers, including Verizon Pioneers and retirees.

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 128.5 million access line equivalents and 28.7 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with 256,000 employees and approximately $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.