Verizon to Invest $86 Million to Expand Network in Rhode Island in 2008

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Consumers in Rhode Island can expect to see Verizon's exciting new FiOS TV services and faster High Speed Internet services in more places this year.

Verizon Wednesday (April 30) announced a major capital investment of approximately $86 million in new network technology for Rhode Island in 2008.  The plan extends Verizon's revolutionary new FiOS TV service to an additional 10 communities and expands its Providence-based Fiber Solutions Center, where at least 50 more union-represented technicians and customer service representatives will be hired. A total of 350 new jobs have been created since the center opened in 2006.

The company also will upgrade its Verizon High Speed Internet Service, based on DSL technology, to eight communities in the Ocean State: Cranston, Hope Valley, Jamestown, Narragansett, Pawtucket, Providence, Tiverton and Weekapaug.

The new service, featuring download speeds of up to 7 megabits per second, more than doubles the speed of Verizon's current highest speed DSL offering and is designed to leapfrog speeds offered by cable companies.

Earlier this year, 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 revolutionary All-Fiber Network

In Rhode Island, FiOS TV is currently available in Coventry, Cranston, East Greenwich, Exeter, Foster, Hopkinton, Johnston, Narragansett, North Kingstown, North Providence, Providence, South Kingstown, Warwick, West Greenwich, and West Warwick. The company also has approval to offer the service in Charlestown, Richmond, Scituate and Westerly and is  seeking licenses to offer FiOS TV in Burrillville, Central Falls, Cumberland, East Providence, Glocester, Lincoln, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, Smithfield and Woonsocket. By the end of this year, Verizon expects to offer FiOS TV in all 29 of these communities, reaching an estimated 80 percent of Rhode Island households and businesses.

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. Donald L. Carcieri's administration and state legislators to explore ways to leverage new investments in Verizon's revolutionary fiber-to-the-home network into expanded coverage throughout the state.

"With this capital investment plan we are making a major commitment to our customers and our employees in Rhode Island," 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 Ocean State to expand our world-class network and deliver the innovative and reliable services that Rhode Island residents and businesses have come to expect."

Bill McGowan, business manager for IBEW Local 2323, which represents Verizon workers in Rhode Island, said, "We have the best technology and workforce to deliver broadband and cutting-edge cable TV services to customers across Rhode Island. We've demonstrated we can compete and win over customers with our people and our services."

In the past year, Verizon has brought new competition to the cable TV market in Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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 networks; 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.  Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island last June, FiOS TV is now available to more than 170,000 households.  When the service expands to the new communities this year, it will be available to more than 350,000 households - more than double the current total.

"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 more than 67 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 employed a diverse workforce of approximately 232,000 as of the end of the first quarter 2008 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.