Verizon to Invest $200 Million to Expand Broadband in Massachusetts in 2008

BOSTON - Consumers in Massachusetts can expect to see Verizon's exciting new FiOS and High Speed Internet services in more places this year.

Verizon announced Thursday (Feb. 28) a major capital investment of $200 million in new broadband technology for Massachusetts in 2008.  The plan extends Verizon's revolutionary new FiOS TV service to an additional 30 communities.   The company also will expand Verizon High Speed Internet Service, based on DSL technology, to 23 other communities in western Massachusetts. 

Other highlights of the investment plan include:

  • The company is completing the hiring of an additional 200 union-represented customer service employees in Andover, Springfield, Taunton and Worcester, bringing the total number of Verizon employees in the Bay State to some 14,000. Verizon is one of the largest employers in the commonwealth.

  • In addition to the 23 new High Speed Internet communities in western Massachusetts, the company will begin offering an additional service tier with maximum download connection speeds of 7 megabits per second in 24 other communities [see attached list].  Most of those communities are located in central and western Massachusetts. The new service, which more than doubles the speed of Verizon's current highest speed DSL offering, is designed to leapfrog speeds offered by cable companies.

  • Earlier this month, Verizon Wireless announced that it spent $292 million to upgrade its New England voice and data networks and hired more than 500 employees in the region in 2007. With this investment, every Verizon Wireless cell site in New England offers wireless broadband connectivity.

Expanding the High Speed Internet Network

The new deployment of Verizon's broadband services will reach two-thirds of the western Massachusetts communities identified by the state as having no high speed broadband services.  [See list below]

Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president for Massachusetts and Rhode Island, credited the state's political leadership for "being willing partners in economic development" by focusing on fostering competition and capital investment.

The company will work with Gov. Deval Patrick's administration and state legislators to explore ways to leverage new investments in rural broadband made by Verizon in western Massachusetts to expand coverage in this and other areas of the state.

"With this capital investment plan we are making a major commitment to our customers and our employees in Massachusetts," Cupelo said. "We believe the time and the climate are right for growing our investments and expanding our technology deployment. We will continue to make significant investments in the Bay State to expand our world-class network and deliver the innovative and reliable services that Massachusetts residents and businesses have come to expect."

Myles Calvey, business manager for IBEW Local 2222, which represents many Verizon workers in Massachusetts, said, "We have the best technology and workforce to deliver broadband and cutting-edge cable TV services to customers across Massachusetts. We've demonstrated we can compete and win over customers with our people and our services."

In the past three years, Verizon has brought new competition to the cable TV market in Massachusetts as it expands and upgrades its network, which carries the company's FiOS TV, FiOS Internet and phone services over new fiber-optic connections directly to homes.

Cupelo said that while competition for phone, super-fast Internet and cable TV service in Massachusetts is at an all-time high, customer interest in Verizon's triple-play and quadruple-play (phone, TV, Internet and wireless) bundles continues to rise.

Said Cupelo, "Our customers appreciate the reliability of our network; they trust in the company; and they want the convenience of obtaining all of these services from us in a package that's priced competitively.  Massachusetts continues to be an important market for us, and we will continue to serve it well."

Verizon's continued investment in its networks and increasing deployment of broadband and TV services "has created a robust marketplace in Massachusetts that has resulted in the development of innovative new technologies, competitive pricing, and a sharpened focus on customer service, all of which bodes well for Massachusetts consumers and the state's economy," Cupelo said.

FiOS TV, provided over the nation's most advanced all-digital, fiber-optic network straight to customers' homes, has become Verizon's flagship product. It offers a better-quality picture, plus a wide variety of high-definition and on-demand programs, and more reliable service at competitive prices. Introduced in Massachusetts in 2006, FiOS TV is now available to more than 400,000 households in 63 Bay State communities [see list below] and will grow to more than half a million households in 2008 when it expands to the 30 new communities [see list below].

Verizon supports state legislation that would enable it to bring FiOS TV to more communities sooner.  Consumers are still waiting longer than necessary for competition and cable TV choice, Cupelo said.

"There is tremendous customer demand for the service," said Cupelo. "FiOS TV customers rave about it and are telling their family and friends to get it.  It's a must-have.  We are trying to make it available to as many customers as we can as quickly as we can."

In addition to FiOS TV, Verizon's fiber network also allows the company to offer consumers and businesses high-speed FiOS Internet service, the fastest in the marketplace, at download speeds up to 50 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds up to 20 Mbps.* 

* NOTE: actual (throughput) speeds will vary.

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 nearly 66 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 employs a diverse workforce of nearly 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.


Community lists

More FiOS TV communities:
The additional communities where Verizon expects to complete FiOS TV franchise agreements are: Ashland, Bellingham, Billerica, Danvers, Dover, Easton, Grafton, Hanover, Hingham, Hudson, Hull, Kingston, Lakeville, Malden, Marblehead, Mansfield, Maynard, Middleton, Milford, Millbury, North Andover, Northborough, Plymouth, Stoughton, Stow, Sutton, Taunton, Walpole, Westford and Weston.

Existing FiOS TV communities:
FiOS TV is now available in Acton, Andover, Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Boxborough, Boxford, Braintree, Burlington, Canton, Dedham, Dunstable, Framingham, Franklin, Georgetown, Hamilton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lincoln, Littleton, Lexington, Lynn, Lynnfield, Marion, Marlborough, Marshfield, Mattapoisett, Medfield, Medway, Melrose, Methuen, Middleborough, Nahant, Natick, Needham, Newton, Norfolk, North Reading, Norwood, Reading, Rockland, Rowley, Sherborn, Southborough, Stoneham, Sudbury, Swampscott, Tewksbury, Topsfield, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Waltham, Wayland, Wellesley, Wenham, West Newbury, Westborough, Westwood,  Wilmington, Winchester and Woburn. Verizon also has TV franchises in the Massachusetts communities of Abington, Rochester and Wareham.

More High Speed Internet communities:
The additional communities in western Massachusetts where Verizon will offer its High Speed Internet service 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.

More 7 Mbps communities:
The additional communities where Verizon will launch its new 7 Mbps High Speed Internet service are: Brimfield, Bolton, Berlin, Bernardston, Chester, Chesterfield, Charlemont, Conway, Gilbertville, Granville, Hubbardston, Hampden, Huntington, Harvard, Hatfield, Millers Fall, Northfield, Oakham, Otis, Petersham, Russell, Stockbridge, Siasconset and West Stockbridge.