NEW YORK --Millions of people soon will have an additional choice for broadband Internet access when Verizon expands its mass-market broadband capabilities by nearly 30 percent this year.
The company is adding more than 10 million new lines to the 36 million now equipped with digital subscriber line (DSL) service from Verizon. By year's end Verizon Online broadband service will be available to millions of homes not now served, primarily in suburban and rural communities, making broadband available on 80 percent of all Verizon lines.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently reviewed its broadband policy, and on Feb. 20, the FCC stated its intention that telephone companies would not be required to share their broadband networks with competitors since there already is intense competition among different providers using phone lines, cable lines and the airwaves, including satellite.
"At Verizon we firmly believe there will be a next phase of industry growth founded on high-speed, always-on networks that enable a whole new generation of products for the home and small business," said Lawrence T. Babbio, Verizon vice chairman. "Just as Verizon is a leader in wireless and in offering innovative bundles of services, we intend to be a leader in broadband."
New technology being deployed by Verizon will expand the market coverage of its digital subscriber line broadband service by pushing its reach beyond the current limit of three miles of copper wire. The company will put DSL equipment in more than 3,000 neighborhood terminals that are connected to the Verizon network with fiber-optic cables, and it will put DSL equipment in approximately 1,000 additional neighborhood switching centers.
Specific state-by-state deployment plans will depend on the particular investment environment in each state.
"By expanding broadband availability to 4 of every 5 customers, Verizon will close the gap in market coverage between DSL and cable modems," said Matthew Davis, director of Broadband Access Technologies at the Yankee Group. "This growth initiative signals a commitment by Verizon to increase its market share and more effectively compete for broadband consumers, which are expected to double in number over the next three years."
DSL is a first-generation broadband technology used with copper lines. However, Verizon already is serving most larger businesses on fiber links, and the company expects that fiber-optic technology ultimately will become the preferred communications medium to reach homes as well as businesses. Verizon is exploring ways to advance its broadband deployment in 2004, including deploying fiber into neighborhoods and even bringing fiber to the premises of an initial set of customers.
"We believe Verizon's future is in broadband for both business customers and customers in their homes," said Babbio. "And if the FCC's final order as it relates to broadband is written the way it's been advertised that will encourage us to speed our deployment of all broadband technologies."
Babbio stressed that Verizon's total capital expenditures will depend on a host of other factors that are evolving at this time, including the state of the economy, the impact of various company initiatives and the negative impact of wholesale voice service regulation at the federal and state levels.
Verizon also is developing other technologies to push broadband farther out in neighborhoods to more and more of its customers. Two Verizon field trials of wireless high-speed Internet service in Maryland and Virginia are yielding encouraging results. If successful, fixed wireless technology could further expand the availability of Verizon Online broadband service to homes beyond the technological limits of DSL.
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 135.8 million access line equivalents and 32.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and 229,500 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 30 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.