Verizon’s investment in fiber networks will revolutionize the way we live –
and revitalize our cities
By Ivan Seidenberg ■ Verizon
he past quarter-century has been • Ultra-broadband technologies are infrastructure capable of connecting
one of the great periods of inven- also transforming the way global every business, every institution and
tion in the history of commerce. businesses operate. Virtual-reality every resident across all five boroughs
Every one of the seminal inventions in- videoconferencing, machine-to-ma- … a tremendous advantage for a lo-
troduced in the past 25 years – from the chine communications and world- cal economy competing in the global
personal computer to the mobile phone wide mobility are compressing supply market for capital, jobs and intellec-
to the World Wide Web – was initially chains, automating manufacturing tual expertise.
underestimated in terms of the impact processes and generally making an
it would eventually have on commerce already “flat” world even flatter. Ve- Thanks to the private-sector invest-
and society. rizon’s extensive Internet backbone ment of Verizon and other telecom,
I believe we are at a similar point network and global IP capabilities wireless and cable companies, we have
with ultra-broadband technology. make our network one of the most made great progress extending access to
At Verizon, we’ve staked our future advanced communications and com- broadband and mobile networks to most
on the power of broadband networks to puting platforms in the world. Americans. The benefits have rippled
expand markets, stimulate through the whole industry –
innovation and help us com-
pete and grow. We’re invest-
Ultra-broadband technologies from the manufacturers who
make the cables and routers,
ing about $17 billion a year are transforming the way to the companies who develop
to make Verizon the leader
in wireless, broadband and global businesses operate the content and software, to
the inventors who create the
global connectivity. These
networks will be a power-
with videoconferencing, M2M new devices that make all
this work for customers.
ful engine of growth and communications and mobility. The great news is that
innovation, not just for our
– for all the progress we’ve
company, but for the whole • We’re four years into a once-in-a-
economy as broadband becomes embed- made already – we’re just at the begin-
generation upgrade of our landline
ded ever more deeply in the lives of our ning of this innovation curve. To under-
network, which takes fiber-optic
customers and the business processes of stand why, it’s important to understand
technology all the way to our cus-
global enterprises. what’s so different about these new ul-
tomers’ homes and businesses. This
The pace of change across our com- tra-broadband network technologies.
year, our FiOS network will pass
pany is quite remarkable: some 12 million homes, and we’re Today, Verizon’s fiber network can
expanding at a rate of about 3 million deliver 50-megabit download speeds.
• Over the last ten years, our wireless
customer base has grown from about homes a year – making Verizon the Soon we’ll be at 100 Mbps or more. The
7 million to over 70 million. We were leading provider of fiber to the home big shift, though, is its two-way capacity
the first wireless company to build a in the US. Those of you who live and – fast enough to upload high-definition
national data network. We’re now work in New York know that we’ve content in a few minutes, as opposed to
testing our fourth generation of in- just started to introduce FiOS there. the several hours it takes on most sys-
frastructure technology, which will When we’re through, New York City tems today.
create new growth opportunities that will be one of the most wired cities in Fast enough to turn Web 2.0 into
we’re only just beginning to grasp. the world – with a communications Web 10.0.
60 | BROADBAND PROPERTIES | www.broadbandproper ties.com | December 2008
Why is this a big deal? Well, we’ve
already seen the power of the Inter-
Imagine the interactive power of the Internet
net to change the way we interact and enhanced with two-way video, three-dimensional
bring more of our daily lives into the
digital realm. graphics and high-definition quality. The great
Now imagine that interactive power
enhanced with two-way video, three-di-
minds at Columbia University could extend their
mensional graphics and high-definition reach across the world. The brilliant doctors there
quality. The great minds at Columbia
University could extend their reach could consult with medical centers anywhere.
across the world through virtual class-
rooms. The brilliant doctors in New connections – person-to-person, per- • Empowering people with disabilities
York could consult with medical cen- son-to-machine and even machine-to- and bringing more people into the
ters anywhere in the world over a secure machine – that will open up whole new workforce.
broadband connection. The amazing possibilities for innovation in wireless. • Connecting more of the world’s pop-
resources of the Metropolitan Museum This is the vision behind our choice ulations to the global economy.
or the New York Public Library could of LTE as our next-generation wireless • Reinventing American industry for
be brought to life through virtual-reality technology. It’s also the logic behind our the digital age.
experiences for anyone, anywhere, with Open Development Initiative, which in-
vites outside developers to create devices Verizon is in the very center of the
a broadband connection.
and applications to run on our wire- trends that are driving growth in our
Or think about the changes happen-
less network. industry. We are focused on tapping the
ing in wireless, which is undergoing its
The convergence of these great dis- rich potential of our networks and bring-
own “ultra-broadband” transformation.
Mobile customers already do more ruptive technologies – mobility, Inter- ing the benefits of broadband to our cus-
than make phone calls – they text, net and optical fiber – will usher in a tomers and to society at large. And we
download music, watch TV, surf the new phase of growth for our industry. will continue to reinvent ourselves around
Web and more. The cell phone is evolv- The uses for these new networks will these emerging opportunities, just as
ing into a kind of “universal remote” for go far beyond what we can imagine we’ve done for the last two decades.
managing all your digital content and today. They will transform entertain- But we can’t do this alone.
accessing it on whatever screen you have ment, education, medicine, the arts and We need software and applications
on hand. commerce. They will have virtually un- developers to create new products. We
We used to say that the only three limited capacity. They will create whole need equipment manufacturers to in-
things you need when you leave the new industries and involve the entire vent new devices. We need public poli-
house are your wallet, your keys and technology sector in a virtuous cycle of cies that encourage investment and in-
your cell phone. Pretty soon, all you’ll investment, innovation and growth. novation. And we need creative thinkers
need is your phone. And – if we think big enough – these to think expansively about how to use
In fact, pretty soon we won’t just ultra-broadband networks can help us these fantastic technologies to build a
think in terms of a mobile “phone” at all address some of the most important so- better society.
– even a smart one – but rather a mobile cial challenges of our time: What the communications industry
universe where wireless capabilities are • Reforming health care with virtual has accomplished in the past 25 years is
built into cameras, media players, energy medicine and electronic records. amazing. What lies ahead is even bigger.
systems, appliances, medical devices, ve- • Saving energy and protecting the en- We’re excited to be part of this business,
hicles, buildings, the heel of your shoe vironment. and we can’t wait to see what the next 25
… pretty much anything you can think • Improving education with distance years will bring. BBP
of. This will create a vast array of mobile learning and online tutors.
About the Author
Ultra-broadband networks can help us These remarks were prepared by Verizon
reform health care with virtual medicine and CEO Ivan Seidenberg for delivery at the
25th anniversary reception of the Columbia
electronic records; save energy and protect the Institute for Tele-Information (CITI) at
Columbia University on October 30. The
environment; improve education with distance event was covered for BBP by correspon-
learning and online tutors; empower people with dent Linda A. Schoener. Seidenberg de-
parted from his talk; this is the first time his
disabilities; and reinvent American industry. prepared remarks have been made public.
December 2008 | www.broadbandproper ties.com | BROADBAND PROPERTIES | 61