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NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey 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 $1 billion to modernize, expand and upgrade the vast telecommunications network and systems that serve the Garden State.
"As this year ends, we've delivered on our promise to equip New Jersey with an advanced telecommunications network that will help the state, its
businesses, schools, libraries and consumers be successful in the new Millennium," said Verizon New Jersey President Dennis M. Bone.
The funds were used primarily to expand the company's fiber-optic facilities and to continue adding the latest technology to Verizon's 214 call-routing centers
throughout the state.
"During the year, we achieved an important milestone when Verizon partnered with the state to provide New Jersey's K-12 students with a video gateway
that is the first of its kind in the nation," said Bone.
More than 100 schools in the state registered to use the video portal, which enables schools around the state to hold live, interactive classes for students
statewide without incurring long-distance charges. Verizon is the first local phone company to deliver broadband, video services on a large scale to schools
across long-distance boundaries under a provision of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The portal is part of Verizon's Access New Jersey program that
delivers advanced technology to the state's K-12 schools and public libraries.
Verizon has connected 2,074 public schools and libraries in the state to its advanced telecommunications network, providing availability to the benefits of the
"We are helping ensure that the children of New Jersey have the educational opportunities they will need to prepare them for the 21st century," said
Bone. "Our educational partnership with the state is setting an example for others across the nation to follow."
Verizon added over 120,000 miles of fiber-optic cable in New Jersey, bringing the state's total to 1.4 million miles. 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. 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
In addition to deploying the latest technology, Verizon has spent tens of millions of dollars to open New Jersey's local telephone market to competition. In New
Jersey, more than 80 carriers are certified to provide local telecommunications services and 43 more have filed for regulatory approval. These companies are
experiencing explosive growth. In the first nine months of this year, Verizon exchanged 9.3 billion minutes of local calls with competitors, nearly double last
In December, Verizon dropped a proposal to restructure New Jersey's out-of-date pricing for local phone service that inhibits residential telephone competition
in New Jersey. The proposal would have brought rates closer to costs while producing no additional overall revenues for Verizon. In 2001, the company intends
to propose a simpler rate "rebalancing" plan. The company intends to seek approval next year to offer New Jersey consumers long-distance service.
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 service in its service area. The result was significant choice and savings for New York consumers.
At year's end, 1.2 million New Yorkers are getting lower prices and clear, surprise-free long-distance calling plans from Verizon. The consumer group TRAC
(Telecommunications Research and Action Center) has estimated that New Yorkers this year saved approximately $220 million as a result of new choices for
both long distance and local services.
Bone noted other milestones the company achieved in New Jersey during 2000:
- Expanded availability of its high-speed Internet access service, Verizon Online DSL, to additional communities in Northern New Jersey and
deployment in parts of South Jersey. Verizon's DSL (digital subscriber line) is now available to more than 1.4 million households and more than 3.5 million phone
- Continued to support SeniorNet, a non-profit organization with seven centers in New Jersey and over 100 virtual "communities" nationwide.
SeniorNet centers are dedicated to providing seniors with basic computer skills and cyber communications training.
- Provided telecommunications training to more than 250 students at 12 high schools that participate in Verizon's award-winning, school-to-work program
called TEC2000. School placement offices reported intense demand for this year's 100 graduates.
- Provided $2 million in grants through Verizon Foundation to support technology initiatives for students, seniors, the arts and job training programs. The
foundation provided scholarships for the 14 independent colleges in New Jersey through the state's Independent College Fund.
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 101 million access line equivalents and
more than 26 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.