Verizon Adds Two Towns to Its Broadband Network Expansion Project in Western Massachusetts

WASHINGTON and SHUTESBURY, Mass. - Verizon announced Thursday (July 10) that it is adding two towns to its High Speed Internet Service expansion project in Western Massachusetts.  In addition to the 23 communities announced earlier this year, Verizon will now add the town of Washington to its list of communities that will for the first time be offered broadband Internet service. In addition, Verizon is significantly expanding that service in Shutesbury.

Verizon is investing more than $200 million this year in expanding its world-class network throughout Massachusetts, including 24 towns in Western Massachusetts that currently have no broadband access to the Internet. When completed, the network expansion project will make Verizon's High Speed Internet service available to thousands of Western Massachusetts consumers.

Verizon technicians have already begun laying the groundwork for the new High Speed Internet service, also known as DSL. The service will give Internet users the ability to download at speeds of up to 3 megabits per second (Mbps), 53 times faster than users' current dial-up capability.

Verizon expects to begin offering High Speed Internet service in some of the Western Massachusetts communities this fall.  The company will notify potential customers of the availability of the service in a number of ways, including direct mail, media advertising and contact with local officials in each community. Consumers can also visit www.verizon.com/ma for additional information.

"We are committed to expanding our world-class network in Massachusetts to bring the benefits of High Speed Internet to as many consumers as possible," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. "Verizon's investments in Massachusetts have and will continue to be a major contributor to growing the state's economy."

The 24 Western Massachusetts communities are: Becket, Blandford, Colrain, Cummington, Florida, Goshen, Hancock, Heath, Leverett, Leyden, Middlefield, Monroe, Montgomery, New Ashford, New Marlborough, Pelham, Plainfield, Rowe, Sandisfield, Tolland, Washington, Westhampton, Windsor and Worthington.

When the work is completed, Verizon expects High Speed Internet service will be available to 70 percent of its customer lines, on average, in the 24 towns. The new broadband deployment of Verizon's High Speed Internet network will reach three-fourths of the Western Massachusetts communities identified by the state as having no high-speed broadband services.

"The public and private sectors have been working together to expand broadband in Western Massachusetts, and we've made significant strides in recent months towards our goal of helping more consumers in our region reap the benefits of high-speed Internet services," said state Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg, D- Northampton.

State Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-South Deerfield, said, "Expanding broadband is vital to the economic health and vitality of our citizens and businesses, and we're excited about this additional investment and commitment to our region."

Linda Dunlavy, co-chair of Pioneer Valley Connect, said, "We at Pioneer Valley Connect appreciate the difficulty in trying to bring broadband to remote areas of Massachusetts. Verizon's plan to bring High Speed Internet to 24 communities is a bold step to bring the benefits of broadband to more citizens in Pioneer Valley and Western Massachusetts.  Verizon's announcement of expansion of its project into additional communities is another exciting step toward our goal of having broadband services available throughout Pioneer Valley."

Verizon High Speed Internet service is delivered on a dedicated line from Verizon's central office to the customer's home and is backed by live, 24 x 7 customer service and technical support.  High Speed Internet subscribers have access to an extensive collection of features and services, including online protection with Verizon Internet Security Suite, Verizon Enhanced Email, Verizon Premium Tech Support, Online gaming, free news from ABC News Now; free sports from ESPN360, and more. 

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 more than 67 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 employed a diverse workforce of approximately 232,000 as of the end of the first quarter 2008 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.