Verizon Investment in Rhode Island Communications Network Tops $71 Million This Year

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Rhode Island 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 $71 million to modernize, expand, and upgrade its Rhode Island network.

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 30 switching centers throughout the state already use digital technology systems. The company's network in Rhode Island is valued at close to $1.2 billion.

"Verizon's state-of-the-art network provides our Rhode Island customers with the benefits of the latest telecommunications applications and unsurpassed reliability," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president for Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Nationwide, Verizon invests more than $11 billion annually in its 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 Rhode Island, Verizon added nearly 14,000 miles of fiber-optic cable this year. This brings Verizon Rhode Island's overall fiber-optic network to more than 92,000 miles or enough to circle the Earth more than two-and-a-half 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 Rhode Island for future economic growth," Cupelo said. "We are proud of our role in bringing the benefits of telecommunications to every corner of the Ocean State."

Long-Distance Service Anticipated in Early 2002

Verizon has opened its network and systems in Rhode Island to competition including investing in advanced computer systems and providing space for competitors' equipment in Verizon's switching centers throughout the state. Competitors now have access to more than 95 percent of the state's telephone lines, and more than 80 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.

On Nov. 26, Verizon filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for approval to offer long-distance service in Rhode Island after the Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to support the company's bid. The FCC has until Feb. 24 to act on the application. "We look forward to offering Rhode Island consumers savings similar to those enjoyed by our neighbors in Massachusetts," Cupelo said.

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 customers are getting lower prices and clear, surprise-free long-distance calling plans from Verizon. The company filed its federal application Dec. 20 to offer long distance in New Jersey. In early 2002 the company expects to file for federal approvals to offer long-distance in Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maine.

Verizon Gives Back to the Community

Through Verizon Foundation, Verizon this year gave more than $400,000 in grants and matching contributions to 90 non-profit programs throughout Rhode Island. In addition, Verizon employees volunteered thousands of hours to these programs.

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

Other milestones the company achieved in Rhode Island during 2001:

  • Expanded the availability of Verizon Online DSL (digital subscriber line) high-speed Internet access service to over 300,000 of its 670,000 access lines throughout the state. The company also introduced new networking options that allow sharing of one DSL connection among multiple computers in a home or office. With more than 1 million DSL access lines in service, Verizon is among the nation's leading providers of business and residential high-speed Internet access.

  • Enhanced the reliability of its telecommunications network throughout the state with additional 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.

  • Provided support for OSHEAN, Rhode Island's gateway to Internet 2. OSHEAN is a consortium led by over 180 universities working to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies. Sponsorship enables eligible subscribers, including users of RInet and all K-12 schools, to access high-speed Internet 2 services.

  • Verizon sponsored computer kiosks for the Volunteers in Providence Schools (VIPS) Cyber Café on Westminster Street in Providence. The new program provides tutoring services and improves literacy by using technology.

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.