Ahlstrom Selects Verizon Business to Streamline and Manage Global Communications

READING, England - Ahlstrom -- a global leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of high-performance, fiber-based materials -- has selected Verizon Business to streamline and fully manage its worldwide communications.

A fully managed Verizon Private IP solution will provide a secure, high-speed network to connect 25 of Ahlstrom's key locations to enable secure access to business-critical applications such as SAP and e-mail, as well as supplying backup connections for additional business resiliency.

Ahlstrom employs more than 6,500 people in more than 20 countries on six continents. The company has expanded rapidly over recent years, via both investment and acquisition, in support of its vision of becoming the global source for fiber-based materials. This aggressive growth curve had led to a proliferation of different networks and systems around the globe, all of which needed to access centrally hosted business-critical applications such as production planning, supply-chain management and logistics tools to facilitate the smooth running of business operations.

To support its ongoing growth, Ahlstrom decided to consolidate its global network infrastructure with a single service provider. Quality of service and network resilience were critical concerns, as was the ability to prioritise traffic according to business needs. The objective was to optimize performance across the network and minimize any potential downtime.

In addition, Ahlstrom was keen to enhance its collaborative capabilities both internally between its sales offices and production facilities, and externally with key suppliers and customers. Finally, by opting for a fully managed solution, Ahlstrom hoped to be able to focus its attention on its own business goals, rather than on network infrastructure.

The Verizon Business solution was chosen as the best fit for all of Ahlstrom's requirements. "Both the Verizon Business proposition and the team were right for us," said Markku Kuronen, Ahlstrom's IT development manager. "The resilience offered by the Verizon Business solution exactly matched our requirements, and the service levels and pricing were excellent. What was especially pleasing was how flexible the team was, and how well they listened, and responded to our needs."

Kuronen continued: "We also found the migration experience extremely and unexpectedly positive. We migrated each site during working hours, but both users and the IT department agree that there was minimal disruption to everyday operations."

Vesa Hämäläinen, director of corporate information technology at Ahlstrom, added: "As well as providing top-end performance, the total cost of ownership of the Verizon Business solution, even with migration cost included, will be less than that of the service it replaced."

Pekka Inkinen, sales director, Verizon Business, said, "Ahlstrom demands a lot from its network and needed a partner able to support its current and future business objectives. Verizon Business' solid experience in supporting multinational companies, coupled with our broad product and service portfolio, enabled us to tailor the perfect solution to support Ahlstrom's goals."

About Ahlstrom
Ahlstrom is a global leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of high performance fiber-based materials. Nonwovens and specialty papers, made by Ahlstrom, are used in a large variety of everyday products, such as filters, wipes, flooring, labels, and tapes. Based upon its unique fiber expertise and innovative approach, the company has a strong market position in several business areas in which it operates. Ahlstrom's 6,500 employees serve customers via sales offices and production facilities in more than 20 countries on six continents. In 2006, Ahlstrom's net sales amounted to EUR 1.6 billion. Ahlstrom's share is listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. The company website is www.ahlstrom.com.

About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), is a leading provider of advanced communications and information technology (IT) solutions to large-business and government customers worldwide.  Combining unsurpassed global network reach with advanced communications, security and other professional service capabilities, Verizon Business delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  For more information, visit www.verizonbusiness.com