BEAVERTON, Ore. - Verizon Communications will soon bring Washington County one of the most significant advancements in telecommunications technology in the past 100 years.
The company today announced plans to build a fiber-optic network that will deliver faster data speeds as well as crystal clear voice services to the Beaverton, Hillsboro and Tigard areas of the county. The new network is also capable of carrying a competitive choice to the existing cable television providers, but Verizon has not announced plans to deploy cable TV in Oregon.
Known as fiber-to-the-premises, or FTTP, the fiber-optic network uses hair-thin strands of fiber and optical electronics to directly link homes and businesses to Verizon's network. The new network replaces the traditional copper-wire connections and will unleash a range of advanced communication services.
Although the use of fiber optics is common for long-distance communications throughout the telecommunications industry, Verizon is one of the first major telecom companies to begin using it to directly connect homes and businesses to the network on a widespread scale.
"We are building the communications network of the future to provide customers unmatched network reliability, incredible speed and limitless potential for voice, data and video connections," said David Valdez, Verizon's vice president of public affairs and policy in the Northwest. "We believe our FTTP project will stimulate economic development and help convince companies and people that Washington County is a great place to live and do business."
Three cities in Washington County - Beaverton, Hillsboro and Tigard - will be Verizon's first FTTP markets in the Northwest. Construction of the fiber-optic network began last month in the Bull Mountain area, is now moving along in the Rock Creek-Bethany area.
Verizon expects to install more than 2.6 million feet b of fiber-optic cabling throughout Washington County this year, passing about 38,000 homes and small businesses. Additional construction next year will expand the number of homes and small businesses served by fiber.
Verizon's fiber cables and related equipment will be located inside the company's local central switching offices, buried in the ground or placed on utility poles using existing rights of way.
In addition to Oregon, Verizon is building its FTTP network in 12 other states: California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia.
Verizon expects to pass some 3 million homes and businesses nationwide by the end of this year. To help build its network across the country, Verizon will hire between 3,000 and 5,000 new employees by the end of 2005.
In Washington County, Verizon plans to add about 90 full-time positions initially, and then more, over the course of the project. The jobs involve fiber splicing, installation and repair, and engineering and drafting. The company also expects to hire about 660 contract employees to work on various aspects of the local FTTP project such as underground boring, trenching and fiber splicing.
Fiber offers tremendous advantages to network operators, in addition to new and superior services for customers. For example, fiber offers reliable service in stretches of wet weather that can affect copper-based networks.
"Verizon's 100 percent fiber-optic network is technically superior to other communication platforms because it offers faster data speeds than those currently available as well as voice and video capabilities," said Trinidad Aguirre, Verizon vice president of network operations. "This new network will have greater reliability and lower maintenance costs. By deploying fiber to homes and businesses in our territory, Verizon is transforming its wireline business."
Local leaders saluted Verizon's FTTP effort in Oregon.
Washington County Commission Chair Tom Brian said, "Verizon's major investment to bring advanced fiber-based technology to Washington County ensures that our homes and businesses will have the fastest and most reliable data services available. The ability for our businesses and homes to have new and advanced data applications is another building block for our future."
Oregon First District Congressman David Wu said, "I would like to thank Verizon for not only bringing some of the newest telecommunication technology to Washington County, but also for the company's investment and commitment to Oregon. Whether it's a small business in the Beaverton area or an employee who can work from home in Hillsboro, this technology will be good for our work force and our economic development."
Hillsboro Mayor Tom Hughes said, "This is a step forward that is at least as significant as the arrival of broadly distributed public direct-dial service many years ago. Verizon's commitment to the community gives us a level of connectivity unparalleled in the region; it's a huge competitive advantage in the 21st century economy."
Beaverton Mayor Rob Drake said, "We are proud to be one of the first cities on the West Coast to enjoy this substantial investment by Verizon, which will give our citizens access to excellent Internet connectivity. It's good for our businesses and for economic development in the Beaverton area. Fiber to the premises will also contribute to an overall higher quality of life for our residents."
Tigard Mayor Craig Dirksen said, "I would like to congratulate Verizon for initiating this ambitious project and investing in the communities in this area. Tigard is optimistic about the benefits Verizon's FTTP project can bring to the people of the city. The installation of a fiber-optic network directly into homes and commercial properties should provide our residents and businesses with access to the newest available technology and opportunities for advanced telecommunications services."
Jonathan Schlueter, Westside Economic Alliance president, said, "Westside Economic Alliance welcomes today's announcement about Verizon's continued investment and commitment to Washington County. Verizon's ambitious growth and investment in Washington County brings a much-needed boost to Oregon's economy, creating new jobs and cementing Washington County's reputation as a leader and innovator in cutting-edge technology."
Customer reaction to Verizon's new fiber-based Internet access service, called FiOS (FYE'-ose), has been very positive, with broadband subscribers already more than doubling in the company's inaugural FiOS market of Keller, Texas, northwest of Dallas. Verizon will notify customers in Washington County when FiOS is available locally.
"FiOS has been an extraordinary hit with our first customers. People are literally lining up to get what they know is a fantastic service at an excellent price," said Verizon's Aguirre. "The need for speed and ability to take advantage of bandwidth-intensive applications remain a top priority for all computer users."
- 5 Mbps (megabits per second) downstream and 2 Mbps upstream. Suited for Internet surfing and basic computer functions. $34.95 a month as part of a calling package, or $39.95 a month stand-alone.
- 15 Mbps downstream and 2 Mbps upstream. Appealing to families that have multiple computers and various needs such as media downloads and the ability to access or share large files. $44.95 a month as part of a calling package, or $49.95 a month stand-alone.
- 30 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream. Designed for communications-intensive power users with significant bandwidth needs, such as telecommuters or work-at-home households and avid online gamers. $179.95 as part of a calling package, or $199.95 a month stand-alone.
There are three tiers of Verizon FiOS Internet service for consumers with downstream (download) speeds of up to 5, 15, and 30 Mbps (megabits per second).*
The FTTP initiative represents a natural extension of the more than 10 million miles of fiber-optic cable Verizon already has in place and extends the high capacity, speed and quality of fiber directly to the customer's doorstep. With FTTP technology, Verizon can easily add more capacity, higher speeds or video services in the future.
Verizon's digital subscriber line (DSL) service will remain the company's most widely available form of high-speed Internet access for the foreseeable future while the company ramps up FTTP deployment. The company offers DSL on a widespread basis throughout Oregon over existing copper lines at speeds of up to 3 Mbps.
*NOTE: Actual (throughput) speeds will vary.
With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 210,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom serves customers based in 29 states with wireline telecommunications services, including broadband, nationwide long-distance and other services. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 43.8 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.