Verizon Launches Fiber-Optic Projects In Raleigh County, West Virginia

BECKLEY, W.Va. - Verizon is investing more than $500,000 in two construction projects to upgrade its telecommunications network in Raleigh County, improving customer service and reliability in the area. The work is part of a two-year, $16-million effort by the company to modernize its network in rural areas of the state.

"We have a state-of-the-art telecommunications network in the Mountain State, and we're committed to making it even better," said Gale Given, president of Verizon West Virginia. "To do that, we're deploying the latest technologies in our network across the state."

In the Glen Daniel area, the company is adding 8.4 miles of fiber-optic cable along Route 3 west of Beckley. The job will increase phone-line capacity for the customers in the Rockhouse Fork Road area. The fiber cable will also enable Verizon to offer high-speed, digital connections for businesses and schools.

The second project, along Grandview Road in Shady Spring, involves connecting digital electronics to an existing fiber-optic cable, providing for additional capacity.

Fiber-optic systems use hair-thin glass fibers and digital technology to deliver high-quality telephone service, along with high-capacity, high-speed data-transmission services. A single strand of fiber is capable of carrying the equivalent of tens of thousands of telephone conversations at one time.

Verizon's rural service improvement program is funded in part with dollars from the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Universal Service Fund. The FCC established the fund to subsidize phone service in those states where the costs for providing the service are high. The costs of furnishing local phone service in West Virginia are among the highest in the nation.

In 2002, Verizon will receive over $30 million from the fund. Most of these dollars are used as local service credits on customers' bills. The West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) also allows Verizon to use a portion of those dollars to upgrade its network in rural areas.

"We appreciate the PSC's support. The commission recognizes the importance of upgrading these facilities," Given said. "We wouldn't have been able to tackle a program of this magnitude without its help."

James D. Williams, PSC chairman said, "The West Virginia Public Service Commission is pleased with this latest example of the use by Verizon West Virginia of federal Universal Service Fund money to improve telecommunications service quality and availability for a vital area of our state. Our telecommunications staff and the PSC Consumer Advocate Division have worked with the company in determining where the USF dollars can best be used in West Virginia. The results of this combined effort will admirably serve the public interest."

Verizon will launch 21 more network modernization projects in rural areas of West Virginia over the next two years. The improvements will help Verizon meet demand and provide more network capacity. Part of this new capacity is necessary because of rural customers' increased usage of and reliance upon the Verizon network to access the Internet. The projects also will further improve reliability and disaster survivability in the company's network.

    Verizon is building an advanced communications network throughout West Virginia:

  • Verizon has more than 220,000 miles of fiber optics in the state, and more is installed each month.

  • Verizon has invested more than $720 million in its West Virginia network since 1996.

  • All of Verizon's switching centers in West Virginia and the lines that connect them are digital, providing increased reliability and quality.

Verizon Communications

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 135.1 million access line equivalents and 30.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 241,000 employees, 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.