Verizon to Open New Work Center in Hampton, Va.; Company to Create 100 New Jobs by January and May Add Up To 500 Over Next 3 Years

HAMPTON, Va. - Verizon will open a new customer service center here, creating at least 100 new jobs by January. When it is fully staffed over the next two to three years, the new center could employ as many as 500 people.

Employees in the center will support consumers and business customers who purchase new broadband products - known as FiOS services - over Verizon's new fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network, which the company has begun building in parts of nine states, including Virginia. The new technology uses a fiber-optic link to directly connect a home or business to the Verizon network, replacing the copper-wire technology used today.

Verizon has already opened a similar customer service center in the Dallas-Forth Worth area.

"This new center and its employees are part of our plan to offer the highest quality, end-to-end broadband experience possible for customers of our new FiOS services," said Chris Creager, Verizon senior vice president for the Network Services Group in the Mid-Atlantic region. "These new employees will be trained in all aspects of how this technology works so that they will be able to help our customers get the most out of the best broadband services available today."

Verizon earlier this year began selling FiOS broadband Internet access services to consumers served by its new FTTP network in parts of California, Florida and Texas. The company has begun building an FTTP network in six East Coast states and plans to begin general marketing of FiOS products in these states early next year. Verizon will notify customers in Virginia and elsewhere when FiOS products are available.

FiOS services offer Internet access at speeds of up to 5, 15 and 30 megabits per second (mbps) downstream, and up to 2 mbps upstream for the 5 and 15 mbps products and 5 mbps for the 30 mbps product.

The new center will be located at 5200 Mercury Blvd. in Hampton, utilizing existing space in a building already leased by Verizon. Employees in the center will handle calls from customers who buy the new FiOS products, answering technical questions, assisting customers in trouble-shooting problems, and remotely diagnosing and correcting them.

Robert W. Woltz Jr., president of Verizon Virginia, said, "This is great news for Hampton and reinforces our commitment to Virginia. We're looking forward to watching our newest customer support center grow along with our FiOS customer base."

Verizon began building its FTTP network in Keller, Texas, in May. The company expects to invest about $800 million in the new network in 2004 and to hire some 3,000 to 5,000 new employees by the end of next year to help build the network.

Verizon will begin advertising for the new jobs here this weekend. People interested in applying may call 800-678-4869 or visit Verizon's Web site at www.verizon.com/fiberjobs.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. With a diverse work force of approximately 208,000, Verizon has four business units: Domestic Telecom serves customers based in 29 states with wireline telecommunications services, including broadband, nationwide long-distance and other services. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 42.1 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.