Consumers, Businesses in Western Massachusetts to Benefit From Verizon Broadband Expansion Project

PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Residents and small businesses in western Massachusetts received some good news Thursday (Feb. 28) as Verizon announced it is expanding its High Speed Internet services to 23 additional communities in the region.

Those communities are: Becket, Blandford, Colrain, Cummington, Florida, Goshen, Hancock, Heath, Leverett, Leyden, Middlefield, Monroe, Montgomery, New Ashford, New Marlborough, Pelham, Plainfield, Rowe, Sandisfield, Tolland, Westhampton, Windsor and Worthington.

Verizon's plan will include deploying new digital subscriber line (DSL) equipment in central switching offices and using fiber-optic connections and remote electronic hubs to extend the reach of these and other DSL-capable switches to additional customers.

When the work is completed in about a year, Verizon expects High Speed Internet service will be available to an average of 70 percent of its customer lines in the 23 towns. The new broadband deployment of Verizon's High Speed Internet network will reach two-thirds of the western Massachusetts communities identified by the state as having no high-speed broadband services.

Verizon said the project complements Gov. Deval Patrick's initiative to bring more broadband to unserved and underserved communities in Massachusetts. 

"The governor and western Massachusetts legislators have put the proper focus on the real need for broadband expansion in the region, and we want to do everything we can to address that need," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president for Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  "We look forward to working with our government leaders to explore ways to bring broadband to other areas in Massachusetts that are in need."

John Rowley, business manager for IBEW Local 2324, which represents many Verizon employees in western Massachusetts, said, "We have the best technology and workforce to expand broadband services to western Massachusetts.  Our members are ready to deliver the innovative and reliable services that residents and businesses have come to expect, now and into the future."

Verizon's High Speed Internet service is available to residents and businesses located within roughly three miles of the company's central switching offices and electronic hubs. The service provides download speeds of up to 3 megabits per second (Mbps), which is 53 times faster than dial-up Internet service.

In addition to the broadband expansion in these 23 communities, Verizon also announced today that it will boost to an ultra-fast 7 Mbps the speeds of its  High Speed Internet service in 24 other communities, most of  which are located in central and western Massachusetts. 

The communities are: Brimfield, Bolton, Berlin, Bernardston, Chester, Chesterfield, Charlemont, Conway, Gilbertville, Granville, Hubbardston, Hampden, Huntington, Harvard, Hatfield, Millers Fall, Northfield, Oakham, Otis, Petersham, Russell, Stockbridge, Siasconset and West Stockbridge.

The new service, which doubles the speed of Verizon's current High Speed Internet offering, is designed to leapfrog speeds offered by cable companies.  Verizon will look to expand this service in more Massachusetts communities as it continues its network expansion and investment in the Bay State.

Verizon's western Massachusetts expansion project is part of a $200 million broadband investment plan the company announced Thursday [see separate release].  The announcement also follows Verizon Wireless' recent announcement that every Verizon Wireless cell site in New England now enables broadband connectivity.

"With this capital investment plan, we are making a major commitment to our customers and our employees in Massachusetts," said Cupelo. "We believe the time and the climate are right for growing our investments and expanding our technology deployment."

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 66 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.