Verizon to Offer Extended Area Service Plan in Illinois Beginning April 17

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Verizon North customers in 53 additional Illinois exchanges can now take advantage of a local calling plan that can save them money over long distance calls while giving them larger local calling areas. The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has approved the expanded area service plan which will result in changes in the way some calls are dialed.

Under the extended area calling plan, Verizon North customers can now call additional nearby communities without paying long-distance charges. They can call these communities by dialing just seven digits, instead of the 1 + 10 digits they previously dialed. (Editor's Note: A list of new local calling areas for customers in these exchanges follows this release.)

"We continue to enhance the value of our service," said James R. Hargrave, Verizon assistant vice president - public policy and external affairs for Illinois. "Our new calling plan provides more rate options for our customers and delivers lower-priced calling alternatives."

The new plan allows residential and business customers to call all communities within the same market service area (MSA) and a 15-mile radius of their own exchange without paying toll charges. With the plan, all such calls are considered local.

With the plan, customers dial 7 digits to reach other numbers within their area code and MSA or 10 digits (area code + telephone number) to reach numbers in all other area codes. Customers who select this plan will need to reprogram fax machines, PBXs, key systems, medical alarms or Custom Calling features to work with the new, shorter telephone numbers.

Verizon is making the calling plan available to its customers in the following exchanges: Benson, Bradford, Brimfield, Buda, Bureau, Camp Grove, Castleton, Chillicothe, Compton, Cuba, Dover, Dunlap, Edelstein, Elmira, Elmwood, Eureka, Galva, Groveland, Hennepin, Henry, Hopedale, Kewanee, LaMoille, LaRose, Ladd, Low Point, Mackinaw, Manlius, Mendota, Mineral, Minonk, Morton, Mossville, Neponset, Ohio, Princeton, Princeville, Putnam, Roanoke, Sheffield, Sparland, Spring Valley, Sunnyland, Tiskilwa, Toulon, Tremont, Varna, Walnut, Washburn, Washington, West Brooklyn, Wyanet and Wyoming.

The extended calling plan already is available to Verizon North customers in 43 other exchanges across the state. The company plans to request permission to make the plan available to all Verizon North customers in the state over the next year.

Since GTE and Bell Atlantic merged to become Verizon last June, the company has reduced its local rates in Illinois by more than $10 million. In addition, the company is investing $270 million over three years in its existing telecommunications infrastructure in Illinois.

Under the new calling plan, local calls to nearby communities are priced at current, local Usage Sensitive Service rates.

Usage Sensitive Service has a $17.09 monthly fee, plus a call-connection charge of 3 cents per call and a 1.8-cents-per-minute calling charge. These charges are discounted 50 percent on weekends, holidays, and from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. on weekdays.

Residential customers under the extended calling area plan also can select the
11-cents per-call option. Under this option, they pay a $17.09 monthly fee plus 11 cents per call with no per-minute charge for calls to the extended area communities. These charges are discounted 50 percent on weekends, holidays and from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. on weekdays. Residential customers may enroll in the 11-cents per-call plan by calling 1-800-483-4000.

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 nearly 109 million access line equivalents and more than 27.5 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the world's largest provider of print and online directory information. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $63 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.