Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
Several state and federal regulatory proceedings may require our telephone operations to pay penalties or to refund to customers a portion of the revenues collected in the current and prior periods. There are also various legal actions pending to which we are a party and claims which, if asserted, may lead to other legal actions. We have established reserves for specific liabilities in connection with regulatory and legal actions, including environmental matters that we currently deem to be probable and estimable. We do not expect that the ultimate resolution of pending regulatory and legal matters in future periods, including the Hicksville matter described below, will have a material effect on our financial condition, but it could have a material effect on our results of operations for a given reporting period.
During 2003, under a government-approved plan, remediation commenced at the site of a former Sylvania facility in Hicksville, New York that processed nuclear fuel rods in the 1950s and 1960s. Remediation beyond original expectations proved to be necessary and a reassessment of the anticipated remediation costs was conducted. A reassessment of costs related to remediation efforts at several other former facilities was also undertaken. In September 2005, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) accepted the Hicksville site into the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program. This may result in the ACE performing some or all of the remediation effort for the Hicksville site with a corresponding decrease in costs to Verizon. To the extent that the ACE assumes responsibility for remedial work at the Hicksville site, an adjustment to a reserve previously established for the remediation may be made. Adjustments to the reserve may also be made based upon actual conditions discovered during the remediation at this or any other site requiring remediation.
In connection with the execution of agreements for the sales of businesses and investments, Verizon ordinarily provides representations and warranties to the purchasers pertaining to a variety of nonfinancial matters, such as ownership of the securities being sold, as well as indemnity from certain financial losses.
Subsequent to the sale of Verizon Information Services Canada in 2004, we continue to provide a guarantee to publish directories, which was issued when the directory business was purchased in 2001 and had a 30-year term (before extensions). The preexisting guarantee continues, without modification, despite the subsequent sale of Verizon Information Services Canada and the spin-off of our domestic print and Internet yellow pages directories business. The possible financial impact of the guarantee, which is not expected to be adverse, cannot be reasonably estimated since a variety of the potential outcomes available under the guarantee result in costs and revenues or benefits that may offset each other. In addition, performance under the guarantee is not likely.
As of December 31, 2009, letters of credit totaling approximately $117 million were executed in the normal course of business, which support several financing arrangements and payment obligations to third parties.
We have several commitments primarily to purchase programming and network services, equipment and software from a variety of suppliers totaling $9,925 million. Of this total amount, we expect to purchase $3,415 million in 2010, $4,233 million in 2011 through 2012, $1,887 million in 2013 through 2014 and $390 million thereafter. The commitments to purchase programming services are with television networks and broadcast stations. The amounts included for such commitments are based on several factors, including the number of subscribers receiving the programming. Since most of these programming commitments have no minimum volume requirement, we estimated our obligation based on subscribers at December 31, 2009, at applicable pricing stipulated in the contracts that were in effect as of December 31, 2009.