Verizon Wholesale Service Units Receive International Quality Assurance Certification

NEW YORK -- Key Verizon Communications work centers that serve wholesale customers in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic region have earned the prestigious ISO 9000 certification from the International Organization for Standardization, the company announced today.

Verizon is the national communications company formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE.

Independent certification of the Verizon work centers' ability to serve other telecommunications companies known as Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs) demonstrates that the company has put in place quality processes and systems to handle requests from those wholesale customers. The centers handle CLEC requests for the transfer of local phone service for consumers and businesses from Verizon to one of the CLECs. This process is also known as a "hot cut."

The certified centers handle more than 1,000 CLEC requests per day.

The Verizon centers receiving the new certification were the Regional CLEC Coordination Centers in Boston, New York City and Hunt Valley, Md., as well as the Regional CLEC Maintenance Center in East Brunswick, N.J.

The International Organization for Standardization is an independent worldwide federation of national standards bodies, with members in over 120 countries.

The group named the certification "ISO," using the first part of the Latin word isosceles, which means equal. This reflects the organization's goal for a common set of universally accepted quality standards. The ISO 9000 standard is a specific set of quality management system requirements, which includes all the activities a company or organization performs to ensure that its product or service meets the expectation of customers.

"Regulators, competitors and others generally recognize that ISO certification is proof we're providing customers with quality products and services," said Tom Maguire, vice president of CLEC operations for Verizon. "This demonstrates that we are serious about putting in place the necessary procedures and controls to serve wholesale customers - one of the key requirements we must meet before we are allowed to offer long distance in Massachusetts and other jurisdictions."

"Our goal is better customer service, which makes us more competitive," said Chris Catalano, Verizon staff director for performance assurance. "We now have over 30 separate organizations within our company that have earned the ISO 9000 certification, but we're not stopping here. We're working hard for certification in other organizations within the company right now."

The wholesale centers began working toward certification more than a year ago when the team began to establish processes for accomplishing hot cuts for CLECS. An external ISO 9000 auditor completed an initial documentation audit last May, and the final audit was done in Boston in October.

"As we worked to gain this certification, we had to create a unified, standard regional process for all CLEC hot cut requests," Maguire said. "Going through this in-depth process forced us to create consistent and reliable methods and procedures under which we serve our wholesale customers. We are proud of what our team accomplished, and we look forward to applying what we learned and established in these centers elsewhere within Verizon."

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, 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 more than 101 million access line equivalents and more than 26 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 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