BALTIMORE - Maryland consumers and businesses are served by one of the most advanced telecommunications networks in the country, thanks to an aggressive investment program by Verizon that continued during 2001.
Last year, the company spent more than $560 million - about $1.5 million a day - to modernize, expand and upgrade the sophisticated telecommunications network that serves Marylanders.
"A robust, modern telecommunications network is essential to success in the information economy," said William R. Roberts, president of Verizon Maryland. "Verizon's investment in its Maryland infrastructure is an investment in the economic future of the state."
Verizon's capital investment in 2001 was used primarily to expand the company's fiber-optic and other cable facilities, as well as to increase the capacity and reliability of several of the company's call-routing centers.
Nationwide, Verizon invests more than $11 billion annually in its wireline telecommunications network, which is one of the most advanced in the world and features an industry-leading 8.3 million miles of fiber-optic facilities.
In Maryland last year, Verizon added more than 31,000 miles of fiber optics to its network. The company has more than 467,000 miles of fiber optics in the state overall - enough to circle the earth nearly 19 times. Fiber-optic systems use laser-generated light pulses and digital technology to provide greater capacity, higher transmission speeds and better quality for voice, video and data transmitted over the network.
- Expanded the reach of Verizon Online DSL (digital subscriber line) in Maryland. The high-speed Internet access service now is available to nearly 2.5 million access lines, two-thirds of Verizon's total lines in the state.
- Introduced several new services, including Call Intercept. Call Intercept screens customers' incoming calls when callers fail to identify themselves and allows users to decide if they want to receive calls from others who do announce themselves.
- Continued building self-healing SONET (synchronous optical network) rings throughout the state to assure continuous service if a communications cable is damaged or destroyed. SONET rings automatically reroute telecommunications traffic in the other direction so that service is not affected.
During 2001, Verizon also:
Verizon has opened its network and systems in Maryland to competition by investing in advanced computer systems and providing space for competitors' equipment in Verizon's switching centers throughout the state.
More than 175 companies have been authorized to provide local phone service in the state. Verizon is required to open local markets before it can gain federal approval to sell long distance in a given state.
This year, Verizon plans to ask the Maryland Public Service Commission to support the company's application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for approval to offer long distance.
Since December 1999, Verizon has won FCC approval to offer long-distance service in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The results are added choice and significant savings for customers in those states, where millions are getting lower prices and clear, surprise-free, long-distance calling plans from Verizon.
"A familiar pattern is playing out across the country - competition increases for both long-distance and local service when Verizon enters the long-distance market in a state," said Roberts. "In New York alone, the Telecommunications Research and Action Center - a widely respected consumer organization - estimates that consumers and businesses are enjoying $700 million a year in annual local and long-distance savings since Verizon began offering long-distance service there in January 2000.
"We're eager to bring the same benefits to consumers and businesses in Maryland," said Roberts.
Verizon Maryland and Verizon Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm, provided nearly $2 million in grants to nonprofit programs throughout Maryland in 2001. In addition to the company's financial support, Verizon employees volunteered thousands of hours to community organizations.
"Verizon, its employees and its retirees have a long tradition of giving in this state," said Roberts. "We're involved in the communities we serve, and we pride ourselves in being good neighbors. Our commitment to service is a vital part of the Verizon promise."
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 128.5 million access line equivalents and 28.7 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with 256,000 employees and approximately $65 billion in annual revenues, 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.