Verizon expandes fiber-optic network to 59,000 more homes in Portland area
Feb 23,2007 00:00 by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources

Forest Grove, McMinnville and Wilsonville to join other Oregon Communities Getting Company's Industry-Leading Fiber-to-the-Premises Network

Internet users in Washington, Clackamas, Multnomah and Yamhill counties will soon be able to subscribe to state-of-the-art broadband service from Verizon, the company that is building the nation's most advanced digital all- fiber-optic network. On Monday Verizon announced plans to deploy the advanced fiber-optic technology all the way to customers' homes and businesses in those four counties.

 
The company said it will extend its fiber-to-the premises (FTTP) network this year to the communities of Forest Grove, McMinnville and Wilsonville. It also will continue its network expansion in the Beaverton, Sherwood and Tualatin areas of Washington County, and the east Multnomah communities of Gresham, Troutdale, Fairview and Wood Village.

A total of 59,000 additional homes will be connected to the FTTP network, which offers the fastest data speeds available to homeowners and small businesses and is capable of offering TV services in the future. Below are the number of households in each community that will be added to the network:

Forest Grove: 9,600

Gresham area: 15,700

McMinnville:  5,000

Wilsonville:  4,300

Beaverton:  14,700

Sherwood:  2,500

Tualatin:  6,000

Unincorporated:  1,200

The network uses hair-thin strands of fiber and optical electronics to directly link homes and businesses to Verizon's network and replaces the traditional copper-wire connections for voice, high-speed Internet and TV.

"The FTTP project already has had a positive impact on the local economy, creating new jobs," said David S. Valdez, the company's vice president for the Northwest. "We've employed hundreds of contractors to build the network; and we've hired more than 300 new Verizon employees over the past two years to design the network, install our FiOS broadband and voice services, and provide technical support to our customers.

"More importantly, however, Verizon is offering consumers a choice by providing the best network available at a competitive price for voice, data and, eventually, TV," he added. Recently, the Metropolitan Area Communications Commission board of directors recommended adoption of a video franchise agreement for Verizon to provide its FiOS TV service to Washington County communities.

Verizon expects to install more than 5 million feet of fiber-optic cabling throughout the Portland metro area by year-end 2007, bringing to 211,000 the total number of homes and small businesses in the area that will be linked to the new network.

More than 6 million homes and businesses in parts of 16 states are now passed by Verizon's all-fiber network, and the company expects its new network to pass about 18 million premises by the end of 2010. Verizon had 687,000 FiOS (FYE'-ose) Internet customers and 207,000 FiOS TV customers by year-end 2006.

FiOS Internet service is offered in more than 1,600 communities in the 16 states where the company's new network is deployed: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Washington. The company currently offers FiOS TV service in parts of ten states: California, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

Fiber offers tremendous advantages to network operators, in addition to new and superior services for customers. For example, fiber offers reliable service in stretches of wet weather that can affect copper-based networks.

"Verizon's 100 percent fiber-optic network is technically superior to other communication platforms because it offers faster data speeds than those currently available, as well as voice and video capabilities," said Vickie Curry, Verizon's director of customer operations in the Northwest. "This new network will have greater reliability and lower maintenance costs. By deploying fiber to homes and businesses in our territory, Verizon is transforming its wireline business into 21st century technology."

Customer Feedback About Verizon Fiber Service Is Positive

Customer reaction to Verizon's FiOS service has been very positive, with broadband subscribers rapidly increasing in markets across the country. Verizon will notify customers in Washington when FiOS is available locally.

"FiOS has been an extraordinary hit with our customers," said Curry. "People are literally lining up to get what they know is a fantastic service at an excellent price. The need for speed and ability to take advantage of bandwidth-intensive applications remain a top priority for all computer users."

There are three tiers of Verizon FiOS Internet service for consumers, with downstream (download) speeds of up to 5, 15, and 30 Mbps (megabits per second)*:

  --  5 Mbps downstream and 2 Mbps upstream. Suited for Internet surfing and basic computer functions. $39.99 a month.
 
  -- 15 Mbps downstream and 2 Mbps upstream. Appealing to families that have multiple computers and various needs such as media downloads and the ability to access or share large files. $49.99 a month.
 
  -- 30 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream. Designed for communications-intensive power users with significant bandwidth needs, such as telecommuters or work-at-home households and avid online gamers. $179.95 a month with a one-year agreement.

Each consumer data offer includes: state-of-the-art, wireless broadband home router; Verizon's Surround entertainment portal optimized for high-speed access featuring news, games, streaming video and more; virtually unlimited 2 GB (gigabytes) of e-mail capacity with up to 9 e-mail accounts; 24/7 live technical support; and 30-day money-back guarantee.

The FTTP initiative represents a natural extension of the more than 10 million miles of fiber-optic cable Verizon already has in place and extends the high capacity, speed and quality of fiber directly to the customer's doorstep. With FTTP technology, Verizon can easily add more capacity, higher speeds or video services in the future.

Verizon's digital subscriber line (DSL) service will remain the company's most widely available form of high-speed Internet access for the foreseeable future while the company ramps up FTTP deployment. The company offers DSL on a widespread basis throughout Oregon over existing copper lines at speeds of up to 3 Mbps.