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MARION, Ohio - Verizon filed a request today with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) that would offer an expanded Local Calling Plan to all of its Ohio customers, reduce the connection fees it charges long-distance companies and create a monthly, local access recovery charge.
If approved by the commission, Verizon's nearly one million Ohio customers would have the opportunity to select one of three options to expand their local calling area. Depending upon which option is selected, former long-distance calls would become flat-rate calls or would be priced at a low rate of 5-cents per minute.
Customers can choose one of the new Local Calling Plan options, or stay with their current service package.
With approval from the PUCO, Verizon would begin offering the Local Calling Plan in phases. Implementation would be complete and available in all 244 of its exchanges in 2004.
Also included in Verizon's proposal is the creation of a per line access recovery charge of $1.25 for residence customers and $3 for business customers. This charge would be added to local bills to more accurately reflect the true cost of providing local service. However, Verizon also will be reducing the fees it charges long-distance companies for connecting to its local network in compliance with a PUCO order--and the PUCO is requiring long-distance companies to pass along that savings to customers. The long-distance rate reductions will help offset the access recovery charge.
"As Ohio moves to conform with national telecommunications policy, which encourages a more competitive local phone service environment, local phone bills must more closely reflect the actual cost of providing local service," said Jack Kennedy, Verizon president in Ohio. "The new charge we are proposing represents no new revenue for Verizon. It offsets the subsidy we lose from long-distance connection charges that will no longer be part of customers' long-distance bills."
Kennedy explained the price of local phone service for decades has been offset by subsidies from long-distance and other services, which helped keep basic local rates low. Local rates actually are priced below the cost of providing the service, he said.
"After the PUCO ordered the reduction in fees we receive from long distance companies, we reviewed the impact of that decision and developed a plan that will recover those lost subsidies and, at the same time, minimize the impact on customer bills," Kennedy said. "We believe this package offers some significant benefits to our customers in terms of more calling options."
Optional Local Calling Plan Details
- Customers will be able to choose from the following Local Calling Plan options:
- Verizon Select Access: For an additional $1per month, customers can make calls to all locations outside their flat-rate local area and within their regional calling area for 5 cents a minute.
- Verizon Favorite Access: Customers can make unlimited calls to certain additional exchanges (roughly within a 20-mile radius) and to the remainder of the regional calling area for 5 cents a minute. Residence customers will pay an additional $12 monthly and business customers will pay $30 monthly for the service.
- Verizon Best Access: For an additional $20 per month (residence) or $50 per month (business), customers can make unlimited calls to certain additional exchanges (roughly within a 20-mile radius) and also receive 60 hours of calling each month for calls to other locations within their regional calling area. If customers exceed the 60-hour time block, additional calls would be billed at 5 cents per minute.
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 112 million access line equivalents and 27 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.