RealTime IT News

Verizon Mulls Local Line Sales

Verizon Communications may divest millions of local phone lines as its fiber-to-the-premises and wireless businesses become more central to its long-term plans, company officials said.

"We are considering the possibility of divesting some access lines using a mechanism, such as a spinout -- although [there is] nothing firm about that yet," Peter Thonis, a Verizon spokesman, told internetnews.com.

Larry Babbio, Verizon vice chairman and president, broached the possibility of a local line reduction at an analyst meeting in New York yesterday, Thonis said.

Verizon could look to divest as many as 10 million to 15 million of its 54 million consumer and business lines. Thonis stressed that no final decision has been made and declined to speculate on how much the move could bring the regional carrier.

But what is clear is that Verizon's local line base continues to slip, and the company has spent a lot of time and money on fiber and wireless initiatives.

Last week, Verizon named the next six states in its FTTP rollout. The carrier will deploy the infrastructure -- which can deliver high-speed data, voice and video -- in parts of Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

It's already offered to consumers and small and medium businesses in parts of California, Florida and Texas. The strategy targets cable providers, such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

FTTP uses hair-width, fiber-optic strands to carry content -- including video programming -- to residential and small-business customers. The Baby Bells say the technology will enable them to offer a better bundle of television, broadband and phone service.

Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon Communications and Vodafone , is coming off an impressive quarter where it added 1.7 million new subscribers.

And earlier today, Verizon Wireless said it completed the purchase of the spectrum license for the New York metropolitan area auctioned by NextWave Telecom for $930 million.