NEWARK, N.J. -- Verizon announced today it's moving ahead with a $1.5 billion investment over the next three years for the construction and deployment of its state-of-the-art fiber network in New Jersey. The announcement came after Gov. Jon Corzine signed into law legislation that streamlines the process for obtaining video franchises in the state.
"New Jersey's new law allowing us to offer television service in the state provides all the justification we need to go full speed ahead to bring fiber optics directly to customers - something no other company is doing," said Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon's chairman and CEO.
"Gov. Corzine and the state Legislature deserve full credit for throwing open the door to television competition in New Jersey and new TV choices for consumers in the state."
As a result of this enhanced deployment, Verizon expects to have its industry-leading video network available to three and-a-half million residents by the end of 2008. The first locations will be opened for sale by the end of this year.
"Gov. Corzine's decision today means New Jersey consumers and businesses are poised to have the nation's most advanced communications network delivered directly to their front door," said Seidenberg. "We expect it will lead to hundreds of new video-related jobs for New Jersey residents, and result in millions of dollars in savings for consumers."
As part of Verizon's plans, the company made the following announcements:
- Verizon will substantially increase FiOS video availability in New Jersey.
The company plans to invest $1.5 billion in Verizon's fiber network that will bring cable choice and competition quickly to hundreds of municipalities in the state. As Verizon considers deployment of available investment resources throughout its service territory, areas with a clear path to television franchises will be a priority.
- Verizon will add jobs and bring savings and better services to consumers.
Verizon currently has more than 1,000 technicians building the FTTP network around the state. As a result of New Jersey's streamlined franchise rules, the company expects the accelerated deployment will lead to hundreds of additional jobs in New Jersey. In addition, experts have estimated that competition in the cable TV market is expected to result in more than $200 million a year in consumer savings, as well as more choices and improved services.
- Verizon is building a major video hub office in Freehold.
This high-tech video control center will be the primary facility to transmit all video services in most of the state. The multi-million-dollar center will collect the video feed off the company's national fiber-optic video ring and then blend in local channels (network affiliates, PEG channels, etc.) to complete the overall FiOS TV product within the region.
"Today's announcement will make New Jersey one of the most 'fibered' states in the nation, and we fully expect these new franchise rules will open the door to even more competitors," said Dennis Bone, president, Verizon New Jersey. "We will strive to bring this network to as many communities and consumers as quickly as possible." He added:
"New Jersey is on the brink of a communications revolution. By the end of this year, we are planning to start offering consumers the most exciting change to home entertainment this side of color television."
As part of the governor's approval of the legislation, he issued an executive order directing the State Board of Public Utilities to issue rules concerning the deployment to multiple dwelling units, or MDUs.
"Bringing our network to apartments and high-rise buildings is a clear part of our deployment plan," said Bone. "This is a tremendous market for Verizon. We've been serving customers in these types of dwellings for decades.
"We look forward to working in partnership with the state of New Jersey in ensuring that Verizon is not locked out when we begin negotiating with building owners."
Customer reaction to FiOS has been very positive, with broadband subscribers more than doubling in the company's inaugural FiOS market of Keller, Texas, just outside Dallas/Fort Worth.
The company will notify additional customers when FiOS is available locally. Customers who want to determine whether they can order FiOS also can call 888-GET FIOS (888-438-3467) or visit Verizon's FiOS Web site at www.verizon.net/Fios.
"FiOS has been an extraordinary hit with our first customers in other states," said Bone. "We are building the communications network of the future to provide customers unmatched network reliability, incredible speed and exciting new options for voice, data and video connections."
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, 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 55 million customers nationwide. Verizon Business operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks. Verizon Telecom is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 252,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.