Verizon Seeks to Offer Optional Extended Area Calling Plan To Customers in 22 Additional Illinois Exchanges

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Verizon Communications, the national telecommunications company formed by the merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic, will ask the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) tomorrow for approval to offer its money-saving calling plan with expanded local calling areas to about 40,000 Verizon North customers in 22 additional exchanges across the state.

The Optional Extended Area Calling Plan gives customers the ability to make calls to a number of additional communities without paying long distance charges. Specifically, the new plan would allow customers to place local calls to areas located within a 15-mile radius of their own exchange.

The plan already is available to Verizon customers in 21 exchanges across the state.

Customers in Annapolis, Ashkum, Bluffs, Bushnell, Calhoun, Chebanse, Chester, Durand, Flora, Hardinville, Loda, Macomb, Martinton, Meredosia, Pecatonica, Prairie City, Robinson, Sheldon, Vermont, Versailles, Wendelin and Winchester. will be able to choose the new calling plan starting Oct. 15, pending ICC approval. (Editor's Note: New local calling areas for customers in these exchanges are included at the end of this release.)

The company plans to make additional filings at the commission to make the new plan available to all Verizon North customers in the state over the next 18 months.

"We are continuing to enhance the value of our service for customers," said James R. Hargrave, Verizon's assistant vice president-public policy & external affairs for Illinois. "Our new calling plan provides more choices for our customers and delivers lower-priced calling alternatives."

"We're bringing things together for our Illinois customers. Expansion of this plan brings new calling choices to even more Illinois customers," according to Hargrave.

Since the merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic was completed in June, Verizon has reduced its local prices in Illinois by $10.03 million. Verizon is committed to invest $270 million over three years in its existing telecommunications infrastructure. Customers who select the new calling plan will be able to place local calls to additional nearby communities priced at local Usage Sensitive Service (USS) rates. Those rates are:

  • Usage Sensitive Service (USS): A $17.09 monthly fee, plus a call-connection charge of
    3.8 cents per-call and a 1.8-cent per minute calling charge. (These charges are discounted 50 percent on weekends, holidays, and from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. on weekdays.)
  • 11-cent per-call option (for residential customers only): A $17.09 monthly residential fee plus a flat, 11-cent per call charge with no per-minute charge for calls within the service area. (These charges also are discounted 50 percent on weekends, holidays and from 9 p.m. to
    8 a.m. on weekdays.)

Verizon customers in Illinois where the new plan is being offered will receive details about the new calling plan in their mailboxes soon.

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Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, 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 more than 100 million access line equivalents and 25.6 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com .