Verizon to Bring Western Pennsylvanians Major Step Closer to Real Choice for Cable TV

PITTSBURGH - Cable TV competition is a major step closer for consumers in western Pennsylvania, as Verizon today announced plans to establish a local video hub office (VHO) that will give the company the ability to deliver video programming over the nation's most comprehensive all-digital, fiber network.

Verizon Pennsylvania President William B. Petersen, along with Verizon Vice President of Video Network Services Nicola Palmer and Senior Vice President of Operations James V. O'Rourke, made the announcement at a news conference this morning. 

"Verizon's all-fiber network represents the future of television," said Petersen.  "It will bring something to western Pennsylvanians that they've never had before:  choice and competition, competitive pricing and innovative TV services.

"With this hub, Verizon could begin to offer video competition in western Pennsylvania late next year," said Petersen.

The VHO, which will be located in the Pittsburgh area, will receive national programming via fiber-optic lines from Verizon's two "super head end" facilities.  Inside the hub office, which is staffed round the clock, employees monitor the video and audio quality of the national channels received from the super head ends.  The VHO also will insert local programming like local TV and public-education-government channels and send these signals - along with the national programming - to Verizon's local central offices and on to customers' homes over Verizon's all-fiber network.

Once the VHO is completed, Verizon will be able to provide western Pennsylvania consumers with FiOS TV, which the company currently offers in 60 markets in California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Virginia. 

FiOS TV service is designed to be a formidable competitor to cable and satellite, offering a broad collection of all-digital programming, more than 20 high-definition channels, video on demand, an easy-to-use interactive programming guide and more.  "We've harnessed the speed and capacity of broadband with the power of broadcast to create a revolutionary new entertainment experience, one that offers consumers choice, value, simplicity and innovation," said Palmer. 

FiOS TV is delivered over Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network, which has industry-leading quality and reliability.  Verizon is the first company to offer such a communications network, connecting homes and businesses directly to fiber optics on a widespread scale.  Only Verizon's FTTP network has earned the certification of the independent Fiber to the Home Council for providing fiber all the way to customers' homes and businesses.

Verizon's all-fiber network delivers amazingly sharp pictures and sound, and has the capacity to transmit a wide array of high-definition programming that is so clear and intense it seems to leap from the TV screen.  In addition to FiOS TV, Verizon's fiber network also allows the company to offer consumers and businesses high-speed FiOS Internet Service at download speeds of up to 30 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps.*  FiOS Internet Service is currently available in many western Pennsylvania communities.

"Our all-fiber-optic upgrade is a complete transformation of Verizon's communications network," said O'Rourke.  "This transformation will offer consumers the very best services: super-fast Internet speeds, superior TV and crystal-clear voice, all at competitive prices, with Verizon's unmatched customer service."

Verizon will begin the process of obtaining required cable franchises from local municipalities in the region - a prerequisite under current law to offering cable services.  The company has video franchises covering approximately 4 million households in nine states and more than 200 franchise areas, including 94 in southeastern Pennsylvania.  As Verizon's fiber network is deployed in franchise areas, consumers will be able to choose FiOS TV.

* NOTE: actual (throughput) speeds will vary.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a New York-based 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 57 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.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.