Verizon Invests $4.5 Million To Better Serve Altoona, Pa. Area Customers

ALTOONA, Pa. - Verizon customers in Altoona will have improved communications as the result of a $4,532,000 investment the company is making in its local call-switching center. New equipment will be installed, including advanced power systems that enable Verizon to provide critical telecommunications services in the event of commercial power disruption, such as those that occurred during Hurricane Isabel and the Northeast blackout.

The equipment also allows Verizon to more efficiently monitor power systems and diagnose potential network power problems. In addition, Verizon is installing new digital switching equipment that will increase reliability and capacity in the Verizon network. The digital equipment supports high-speed, high-capacity services for consumers and businesses and DSL (digital subscriber line) high-speed Internet service. The company expects to complete the project in the second quarter of 2004.

Verizon also continues to install fiber-optic cable throughout the commonwealth. Fiber-optic systems use hair-thin glass fibers and digital technology to deliver high-quality telephone service along with sophisticated data communications services. Verizon Pennsylvania ranks third among the nation's local telephone companies in the percentage of fiber-optic cable installed in its network, according to reports compiled by the Federal Communications Commission.

"The Altoona project underlines Verizon's commitment to build and maintain a state-of-the-art telecommunications network throughout Pennsylvania," said James V. O'Rourke, president of Verizon Pennsylvania. "We continue to upgrade our infrastructure to provide rural, suburban and urban customers with better quality service, as well as the platform for high-speed access to the Internet, work-at-home capabilities and a host of other innovative services."

Verizon has invested nearly $8 billion in its telecommunications network across the commonwealth over the last nine years.

"We are building an advanced telecommunications network that will stimulate job and income growth and will make Pennsylvania one of the most attractive locations for corporations and individuals," O'Rourke said.

In addition to deploying the latest technology, Verizon Pennsylvania offers a complete range of telecommunications services, including local, regional and long-distance calling, as well as high-speed data and Internet and wireless services. The Verizon Freedomsm bundle of services offers the convenience of one bill and very attractive discounts for customers who subscribe to several Verizon services.

"The level of telecom competition in Pennsylvania today is unprecedented," said O'Rourke. "Competition and Verizon's entry into the long-distance market have benefited consumers, who now can choose from many providers for all their communications needs."

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 and 221,000 employees. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 137.6 million access line equivalents and 34.6 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 14.6 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.