NEW YORK - One year after Verizon announced an ambitious plan to expand its high-speed data network nationwide, it has closed over 900 sales with more than 550 of its largest customers, including 65 Fortune 500 corporations as well as many educational institutions. The customers include JP Morgan Chase; Capital One; the Securities Industry Association; The PMA Insurance Group in Pennsylvania; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; and the Los Angeles law firm Munger, Tolles and Olson, LLP.
The expansion plan, dubbed Enterprise Advance, is part of Verizon's strategy to capitalize on opportunities in the large-business, education and government markets. These new contracts represent a successful beginning of the company's growth plans.
Last March, Verizon gained the final long-distance approvals it needed to take the company from regional carrier to national service provider. By last May, 150 large customers had signed up for advanced services over Verizon's expanded, high-speed data network. Since then the customer count has tripled, with more growth expected as the network expansion continues into next year.
"Enterprise customers want a communications partner that can provide both local and long-haul services and has the expertise to design and manage their most complex data networks," said Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group President Eduardo Menascé. "Verizon is fast becoming an 'all-distance' company. Our Enterprise Advance results validate our ability to successfully deliver the most advanced services our large-business customers require."
The company has launched several key national services, including frame relay, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), synchronous optical networking (SONET) and enhanced SONET (Ethernet over SONET) in over 40 markets this year. These advanced services offer customers greater speeds, more bandwidth and the increasing flexibility to merge and manage their voice and data traffic on a single network. In addition, the new optical technology supports customers' privacy, business recovery and data storage needs.
In the initiative's first year, Verizon has added over 6,800 fiber miles to its network, expanding nine regional optical rings in the Northeast, Northwest and the Great Lakes regions.
Verizon also launched Verizon Optical Networking (VON), an optical service that provides long-distance, point-to-point communications over the public network and offers customers new protocols and speed options at lower costs.
The Securities Industry Association recently named Verizon its preferred vendor for domestic and international long-distance voice and data services, business continuity and disaster recovery, and Internet access services. Verizon is already the preferred provider of local communications services for the SIA under an earlier agreement.
"The commitment Verizon has made to expanding its reach, combined with its proven expertise in the most advanced optical data services, make them an appealing partner in today's communications market," said SIA Executive Vice President Donald Kittell.
Financial firms, such as the SIA members, as well as others, are turning to new technologies like VON and enhanced SONET to support their information-intensive applications. As part of Enterprise Advance, Verizon sold over 70 dedicated optical rings this year, almost four times the sales of the prior year, underscoring the growing popularity of those services as the method of choice for business recovery, data storage and IP traffic management.
Among the optical customers are Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and Medisys Health Network in New York.
Rutgers, which uses an advanced network to support research and administration and more than 50,000 students on three campuses, signed on for enhanced SONET to upgrade its network. The university can now transmit information at speeds of 2.5 gigabits per second with the flexibility to connect to slower-speed networks at satellite campuses.
Medisys, a multi-hospital organization with associated clinics and nursing homes in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens in New York City and roughly 10,000 employees, chose an enhanced SONET ring to connect all of the organization's hospitals and medical staff. The new network design addresses the organization's primary application involving the transferring of radiological images (X-Rays, CTs, MRIs) and related information between the Medisys hospitals.
"The customer response to Verizon's Enterprise Advance initiative indicates the market need for companies that can successfully offer communications diversity," said Eileen Eastman, vice president, Yankee Group. "Customers need business continuity services, data storage, IP applications and transport, and Verizon has the infrastructure to deliver these. Verizon has already proven its capabilities in the local arena and is now taking that expertise across the country to support its customer base."
In the next phases of Enterprise Advance, Verizon plans to connect its regional optical rings across the nation. The company will also deploy almost 300 routers that use a technology called multi-protocol label switching (MPLS). This technology allows a customer to easily integrate older technology such as frame relay with advanced technology such as IP-VPN (Internet protocol- virtual private networking) without the costs and disruptions such connections present today. Verizon has already deployed more than 80 of these routers in some 30 markets. The full rollout of MPLS will support additional services such as IP-VPN on a national basis. Verizon expects the new services to be available in 2004.
Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group manages the design, operation and maintenance of end-to-end total network integrated solutions for large business and government customers across the United States. With 12,000 employees in 39 states, Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group offers a complete range of basic and advanced communications products and services to meet the voice, video, data and IP-related needs of its customers. In the Enterprise business market, Verizon Select Services Inc. provides Verizon's long-distance service, and Verizon's high-speed data network is managed by Verizon Global Networks Inc. For more information on products and services available through Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group, visit www.verizon.com/enterprisesolutions.
A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $67 billion in revenues and 221,000 employees. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with more than 139 million access line equivalents and 36 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with nearly 16 million long-distance lines. The company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. Verizon's international presence includes wireline and wireless communications operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.