RealTime IT News

Verizon Goes Nationwide

Verizon , the local telephone company created in the wake of the court-ordered break up of the AT&T monopoly in the 80s, has returned to the national scene with the announcement Monday of "Enterprise Advanced."

Building on the carrier's asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) network, company officials will open up the I-95 corridor from Boston to Virginia with the service in the first or second quarter next year. As the network develops, officials said, the network would incorporate frame relay and IP services to the mix.

Over the next 18 - 24 months, the telecom carrier will work to connect "islands" of Verizon networks (like the I-95 stretch) throughout the country, first signing backbone agreements with companies like Genuity (which it used to own) and WorldCom , and later building out its own network.

"This is just an extension for Verizon customers from the MAN (metropolitan area network) to the WAN (wide area network)," said Eduardo Menasce, Verizon enterprise solutions group president.

When these islands connect, Verizon will be able to expand its voice, data and services around the country under its name. To date, the company hasn't been ventured onto the national scene to a large extent, instead waiting for approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide long distance telephone services.

Last week, the FCC approved Verizon to provide long distance service in Virginia, giving Verizon the green light to provide a bundled package to enterprise customers in that state. Soon enough, officials expect to start selling that enterprise package around the U.S.

Verizon provides long distance service in 47 of the 50 states.

Right now, Verizon plans to expand using the market's available bandwidth available today. Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon chief executive officer, said the costs for the nationwide rollout will be relatively light starting out.

"Right now, carriers have so much overcapacity around the U.S., it would be hard use it all," he said in a press conference Monday.

Verizon plans to build out its own IP backbone in the future to connect its existing network on the East Coast to states like Los Angeles, Seattle and Dallas. Responding to a question over buying up the assets of failing companies like WorldCom, Seidenberg said he'd rather build out a quality network himself than rely on a network that has problems.

Verizon executives said the network would an optical and IP network backbone, giving customers the opportunity to use any existing technology on their network, as well as the latest network technology.