Verizon's Network Investment in Maine Yields Solid Results during 2000

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PORTLAND, Maine -- Maine consumers and businesses are served by one of the most advanced telecommunications networks in the country, thanks to an aggressive network investment program by Verizon during 2000.

The company spent more than $133 million to modernize, expand and upgrade its Maine network last year.

The funds were used primarily to expand the company's fiber-optic facilities as well as equipping call-routing centers with the most up-to-date software and hardware. Verizon's 140 switching centers throughout the state already use the latest digital technology systems. The company's network in Maine is valued at $1.5 billion.

"Verizon's network infrastructure provides our Maine customers with the benefits of the latest telecommunications applications and unsurpassed reliability," said Edward Dinan, president of Verizon Maine.

Nationwide, Verizon invests more than $12 billion annually in its telecommunications network, which is one of the most advanced in the world and features an industry-leading 8.3 million miles of fiber-optic systems.

In Maine, Verizon added nearly 10,000 miles of fiber-optic cable last year. This brings the state's overall fiber-optic network to over 110,000 miles - or enough to circle the Earth more than four times. Fiber-optic systems use laser-generated light pulses and digital technology to provide greater capacity, higher transmission speeds and better quality for voice, video and data transmitted over the network.

"Verizon's state-of-the-art telecommunications network is positioning Maine for continued economic growth," Dinan said. "The attractive combination of Verizon technology and service has helped bring more than 22,000 'new economy' jobs to Maine."

Last fall, Verizon reduced rates for videoconferencing and video-imaging technology applications to help facilitate the growth of "telehealth" applications used to deliver health care to small communities and rural locations around the state.

Gov. Angus King recognized the company's assistance in furthering the growth of telehealth in Maine. He said, "The fact that a patient in a rural health clinic can receive an examination from a cardiologist at Eastern Maine Medical Center, through the use of videoconferencing and video-imaging, without the patient or the provider leaving their locations will have tremendous benefits for our citizens."

Verizon also continued to bring the benefits of its state-of-the-art telecommunications network to Maine's classrooms. The company upgraded network links to more than 200 schools and provided additional capacity that permits innovative distance-learning applications over high-speed, broadcast quality connections. In 1997, Verizon was responsible for making Maine the first state to have all its schools and libraries wired or access to the Internet.

"We are extremely proud of our role in bringing the benefits of telecommunications to every corner of our state," said Dinan.

Verizon continued its aggressive efforts to open the local telephone market in Maine, investing in advanced computer systems and centers to serve wholesale customers. Verizon has led the nation in opening local telephone markets and satisfying the requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

In Maine, 50 companies are authorized to sell local phone service in competition with Verizon. Verizon is required to open its local markets before it can gain federal approval to sell long distance in a given state.

In December 1999, Verizon won approval to offer long-distance service in New York, becoming the first regional Bell company to satisfy federal requirements to offer long distance in its service area. The result was significant choice and savings for New York consumers. Over 1.2 million of them are getting lower prices and surprise-free, long-distance calling plans from Verizon. The consumer group TRAC (Telecommunications Research and Action Center) has estimated that New Yorkers saved approximately $220 million last year as a result of new choices for both long-distance and local services.

In the second half of 2001, Verizon plans to seek approval to provide long-distance services to Maine consumers.

Through Verizon Foundation, Verizon last year gave over $400,000 in grants to 70 nonprofit programs throughout Maine. In addition, Verizon employees volunteered thousands of hours to these programs.

Dinan noted other milestones the company achieved in Maine during 2000:

  • Introduced Verizon Online DSL, a high-speed Internet service, to selected areas in the state.
  • Introduced 711 Service, enabling hearing- and speech-impaired customers to reach the Maine Relay Service by dialing only three digits - 711. The service significantly improved their ability to stay in touch with the family and friends.
  • Enhanced the reliability of Verizon's telecommunications network by adding 13 additional fiber-optic facilities, called SONET rings. These high-speed SONET rings include a self-healing feature that automatically reroutes voice calls and data in the event of a fiber cut.

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