Such positive differences have become integral parts of the Verizon business model and are represented in workforce development, supplier relationships, economic development, marketing, and philanthropic endeavors. Verizon genuinely embraces the idea that unique perspectives give a company a competitive edge. Verizon employees are directed by the company's exacting code of conduct, and that helps everyone to excel. The company is its people, and it has raised the bars in technological innovation and customer service.
Verizon has an advantage because it is at the forefront of technology. This places the company in the unique position of being able to positively impact the world's environment and to lead the way in the conservation of natural resources. Organizations can minimize travel, save energy, and reduce pollution by engaging in employee teleworking, teleconferencing, distance learning, and e-commerce.
Paul Pilkons, Account Executive for the Retail Markets Team, provided some historical background on the company. Verizon is the result of several mergers beginning with old-time Bell companies like New England Telephone, but the Verizon brand was born in 2000. In 2005, Verizon merged with MCI to form Verizon Business, a leading provider of communications products and services to large institutions and governments across the globe. The product set has changed considerably over the years and not that long ago was essentially based in dial-tone (e.g., Centrex) and point-to-point data circuits. At this point, the product set includes all business telecommunications services with the exception of cellular services, which are handled by another division of Verizon. Verizon has remained competitive with the introductions of new products and services over the years. The company's name recognition means customers will often give Verizon a chance to provide services that are new to it.
Verizon is facing a new challenge these days, with competition in some cases shifting from traditional competitors (other telecommunications companies) to cable companies. With services like FiOS—Verizon's fiber-optic network that delivers voice, data, Internet, and video—the company is rolling out best-in-class products. Verizon is the only major U.S. telecom company building an advanced, all-digital fiber-optic network, on a mass scale, all the way to customers' homes. As a result, only Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network has earned the certification of the independent Fiber to the Home Council.
- Verizon expects to continue passing some 3 million premises annually through 2010, when it expects to have passed about 18 million homes, or more than half the homes it serves.
- Verizon will begin boosting speeds and capabilities on its all-fiber network when it begins deploying advanced G-PON electronics in 2007. This technology can increase downstream broadband speeds by up to four times and upstream speeds by eight times.
- At the end of 2006, Verizon was selling its all-digital FiOS TV service in more than 150 communities in eight of the states where the company is building FTTP: California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.
- FiOS TV will be available in Delaware and New Jersey in early 2007.
- Verizon's FiOS TV delivers hundreds of digital video and music channels, high-definition programming, video-on-demand content, a robust interactive programming guide, and other customer-friendly features.
- Verizon had 118,000 FiOS TV customers at the end of the third quarter of 2006.
Verizon is committed to giving back in other ways, as well. The Verizon Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the world; it funnels its support toward people and organizations that are working to improve the quality of life in our communities. In particular, the Verizon Foundation is focused on education. One of its top priorities is improving basic literacy skills in the United States and abroad. A person's ability to read affects every aspect of his or her life, including safety, health, and economic development. Sadly, nearly 20% of the population here in the United States has low or very low literacy skills. Verizon has also chosen to partner with i-SAFE, a comprehensive Internet safety program, i-LEARN Online, a series of online videos, and i-MENTOR Training Network, a student version of i-LEARN Online.
Another of the Verizon Foundation's target areas is eliminating the causes and effects of domestic violence. The company supports affected families and helps improve their levels of safety by offering both in-kind and financial support to domestic violence prevention programs across the country. In 1995, Verizon Wireless introduced The Verizon Wireless HopeLine® Program; this program provides cell phones to domestic violence victims who are working to rebuild their lives and also to the nonprofit agencies that provide them with aid and support.
Verizon also has an international philanthropic component; the Verizon International Foundation focuses on literacy and workforce and community technology development by backing numerous global educational and economic initiatives. The foundation is driven by its commitment to helping to improve the quality of life of its global neighbors and customers. Verizon has affiliates located in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Gibraltar, and Italy.
Another important tool in the Verizon arsenal is its sponsorship program, which helps the company increase its visibility and credibility in the community. Sponsorships are non-invasive means of advertising new products and services. Verizon has accepted sponsorship opportunities in the areas of sports, arts, and entertainment, primarily related to music and multicultural marketing in the Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Russian, Gay and Lesbian, People with Disabilities, and multinational communities where its customers' heritages, cultures, and lifestyles can be celebrated.