Verizon Says New Landmark Regulatory Framework Benefits California Consumers

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Customers in California will see more competition and technological innovation as well as more investment and job growth in the state as a result of the historic reform of California's telecommunications rules adopted today by the California Public Utilities Commission, Verizon predicted.

"These are new rules for a new era," said West Region President Tim McCallion. "The new rules reflect the realities of the 21st century. The biggest winners, by far, will be consumers, who will see more choices for communications and entertainment."

Today, landline phone companies like Verizon face vigorous competition from cable companies, wireless carriers and Internet-based VoIP providers. Verizon is also starting to provide subscription television service. The new regulations, known collectively as the Uniform Regulatory Framework (URF), put competitors on a more even footing encouraging investment and innovation.

The new rules were approved by a vote of 5-0. The regulations replace the so-called "New Regulatory Framework," a complex array of monopoly-era price controls that the commission adopted in 1989. At the same time, the URF contains transitional safeguards to protect consumers. The regulations include price protection for basic services until the CPUC updates public-policy programs for low-income and rural consumers.

"By adopting these new rules, California's PUC leads the nation with an insightful and bold regulatory policy," McCallion said.

"When the old regulations were introduced, the wireless industry was in its infancy and few people had heard of the Internet, let alone imagined the promise it held," McCallion said. "Much has changed in the past two decades, and these new rules reflect that reality."

Verizon has responded to the communications revolution by building the nation's largest all-fiber network, which is already setting new standards for broadband speed and video quality, and will be the catalyst for many exciting technologies that have yet to be developed.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 55 million customers nationwide. Verizon Business operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks. Verizon Telecom is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 252,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.