Verizon's Investment in Vermont Communications Network Tops $65 Million This Year

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - Vermont consumers and businesses are served by one of the most advanced telecommunications networks in the country, thanks to an aggressive network investment program by Verizon during 2001.

This year, the company spent more than $65 million to modernize, expand and upgrade the sophisticated telecommunications network that serves the Green Mountain State.

"We recognize the growing importance of an advanced telecommunications network for Vermont businesses, schools, libraries and consumers," said Louise McCarren, president of Verizon Vermont. "The good news for Vermont customers is that we're aggressively investing in our infrastructure while at the same time lowering prices for many of our services."

The funds were used primarily to expand the company's fiber-optic and other cable facilities as well as equipping call-routing centers with the most up-to-date hardware. All of Verizon's switching centers throughout the state use the latest digital technology systems.
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 Vermont this year, Verizon added more than 1,500 miles of fiber-optic cable to its network. The company has over 61,000 miles of fiber-optic cable in the state overall - enough to circle the earth more than twice. 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.

Long-Distance Filing Planned in Early 2002

Verizon has opened its network and systems in Vermont to competition by investing in advanced computer systems and providing space for competitors' equipment in Verizon's switching centers throughout the state.

Competitors now have access to nearly 60 percent of Verizon's residential lines and more than 80 percent of Verizon's business lines. More than 75 companies have been approved 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.

In August, Verizon asked the Vermont Public Service Board to support its upcoming application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for approval to offer long distance.

Since December 1999, Verizon has won approval to offer long-distance service in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The result is a significant choice and savings for customers in states where Verizon has been allowed to compete for long distance. Millions of them are getting lower prices and clear, surprise-free, long-distance calling plans from Verizon.

The FCC is currently considering the company's application to offer long distance in Rhode Island. State regulators there voted unanimously to support Verizon's bid. The company filed its federal application yesterday to offer long distance in New Jersey. In early 2002, the company expects to file for federal approvals in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.

Verizon Gives Back to the Community

Verizon Vermont and Verizon Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm, also have provided approximately $350,000 in grants to nonprofit programs throughout Vermont. In addition to the company's financial support, Verizon employees volunteered thousands of hours to community organizations.

"Verizon and its employees have a long tradition of giving in this state," McCarren said. "We're involved in every community, and we pride ourselves in being good neighbors. Our commitment to service is a vital part of the Verizon promise."

    McCarren noted other company milestones in Vermont during 2001:

  • Expanded the reach of Verizon Online DSL, making the high-speed Internet service available to more than 47,000 lines in northwestern Vermont;

  • Reduced in-state, long-distance rates throughout Vermont;

  • Completed the second year of a five-year, $5 million investment in the Vermont Interactive Learning Network, a video conferencing network for high schools across the state;

  • Produced a statewide marketing "tool kit," valued at $150,000, for the Vermont Department of Economic Development. The kit includes a six-minute promotional video and CD-ROM; and,

  • Continued building self-healing "SONET" (synchronous optical network) rings throughout the state to assure continuous service even in the event of a cable break. SONET rings automatically reroute traffic in the other direction so that service is not affected.

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 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.