ALBANY, N.Y. -- The New York State Public Service Commission today approved a new two-year regulatory plan for Verizon that assures its customers will continue receiving the highest quality service in the nation, while enabling the company to compete efficiently in the local telecommunications market.
Customer service will benefit from the plan through continuation of tough service quality reporting standards and the extension of rebates to customers for failure to meet the standards.
The new plan, which concludes a process that started more than a year ago, provides pricing flexibility sought by Verizon. It allows the company to adjust prices for services, as long as increases do not exceed 3 percent of annual intrastate revenues in New York. Verizon will use this pricing flexibility to implement a modest increase of $1.85 a month in basic telephone rates when the plan goes into effect on March 1. This would be the first increase in basic rates since 1991 and amounts to about 4 percent on an average residential telephone bill.
"The basic rate increase will allow Verizon to continue its strong investments in our New York network even as competition increases dramatically," said Paul A. Crotty, president of Verizon New York. "This regulatory plan gives us the flexibility to meet that growing competition while continuing to provide our customers with the highest quality service.
"Verizon will continue to develop new calling plans popular with our customers, and we will offer attractive bundles of wireline, wireless and broadband services," Crotty added.
The plan would have no impact on New Yorkers who are least able to pay because the price of Lifeline, the discounted service to eligible low-income New Yorkers, would remain as low as $1 a month.
Since 1991, while the rate of inflation has increased 30 percent, Verizon's basic telephone rates in New York have remained flat every year and, in fact, decreased in 2000.
"The increase in basic rates will allow Verizon to continue to be a strong investor and employer in New York," Crotty said.
Verizon has invested more than $10 billion over the last six years in new services and technologies for New York customers. The company is the state's largest private employer with nearly 41,000 employees and is one of New York's largest taxpayers.
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 132.1 million access line equivalents and 29.4 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 247,000 employees, 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.