Verizon pleased by Fios take-up

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Interest in Verizon Communications' advanced optical fibre-based services is exceeding expectations, senior executives said on Tuesday.

Ivan Seidenberg, chief executive, and Doreen Tobin, finance director, both highlighted the early success of the Fios project.

Verizon has recently introduced the first Fios services for small business customers in parts of Florida, Texas and California and has been signing up customers for Fios data service in more than 300 communities, said Ms Tobin.

“The take-up rate in the first 10 markets [where we have rolled out the service] has exceeded our expectations,” Ms Tobin said at an investor conference. Mr Seidenberg told an audience at the Supercom trade show in Chicago that, “we are finding not surprisingly that speed sells. In fact, Fios is penetrating the market faster than any other consumer product you can think of PCs, DVDs, even wireless”.

Verizon and rival SBC Communications are spending billions of dollars to roll out new fibre-based networks capable of delivering a range of advanced telecoms services to residential consumers, which they claim are essential if they are to compete against US cable companies. Mr Seidenberg repeated that Verizon is aiming to make its new fibre-to-the-home services available to 3m homes and businesses by the end of this year. SBC has said its Project Lightspeed network will reach 18m homes by the end of 2007.

The Verizon chief also promised that the company would not “redline”, or favour wealthier customers at the expense of poorer ones, as it begins to roll out its Fios video service.

He claimed that cable companies had used the threat of redlining as a “political tool” against Verizon and SBC Communications. “We are happy to commit that when we go in and deploy we are not going to redline,” Mr Seidenberg said.

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