Verizon Begins Work to Expand Its Broadband Network in Western Massachusetts

BOSTON - Work has begun on the expansion of Verizon's High Speed Internet service to 23 western Massachusetts communities, where consumers will be able to reap the benefits of broadband later this year.

Verizon technicians are laying the groundwork for the new service, also known as DSL. When completed, it will give Internet users the ability to download at speeds of up to 3 megabits per second (Mbps), 53 times faster than their current dial-up capability.

Verizon expects to begin offering High Speed Internet service in some of the 23 communities as soon as this summer. 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.

"Our customers are going to be amazed at how lightning-fast their Internet service is, compared with dial-up," said Bob Driscoll, Verizon's vice president of sales and marketing in New England. "They'll be able to download pictures, music and videos so quickly and easily that it will make using the Internet so much easier and more valuable."

In February, Verizon announced a $200 million investment in broadband expansion in Massachusetts, including the launch of the company's High Speed Internet service in 23 western Massachusetts communities where broadband service has never been available.

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.

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. Today we are one step closer to doing so."

Verizon's High Speed Internet service is available to residents and businesses that are located within roughly three miles of the company's central switching offices.

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 new towns. The new broadband deployment of Verizon's High Speed Internet network would reach two-thirds of the 31 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 legislative delegation 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 that are in need in Massachusetts."

Verizon High Speed Internet service is delivered on a dedicated line from Verizon's central switching 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.