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Verizon readies national broadband network

The telecommunications giant says construction of its national broadband network is complete and that it plans to begin offering new data and voice services later this month.

Verizon Communications reported on Wednesday that it has finished building out its national broadband network, and it plans to begin offering new data and voice services over the system later this month.

The telecommunications giant will utilize the broadband network to market a range of services to large customers, including much-awaited voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, capabilities, which promise customers major savings by sending telephone calls over the Internet.

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Additionally, the company said it will launch a number of national broadband services during the next 30 days, including its initial IP virtual private network, which customers can use in place of a traditional VPN and which may also serve as a foundation for future Verizon VoIP offerings. The new broadband network will also serve as the backbone for Verizon's local-access Internet service provider and phone service.

Verizon says the new network and subsequent services will add more than $100 billion to its revenue during the coming years and substantially increase the company's share in the national market for voice and data services among large customers. Verizon says it is currently the third-largest carrier in the sector.

New York-based Verizon built the high-speed network around an IP backbone that links all the company's United States-based metropolitan and regional hubs.

The company said its IP infrastructure is based on multiprotocol label switching technology, a more-flexible system that lets customers take advantage of new services without upgrading their own networking equipment. Additionally, the IP network was designed with the idea of providing voice, video and data applications over a common network infrastructure.

"The completion of the broadband network transforms Verizon into a full-service, national provider of communications services to large public- and private-sector enterprises," Eduardo R. Menasce, president of Verizon's enterprise solutions group, said in a statement. "The IP backbone leverages the ubiquity of Verizon's local networks and extensive portfolio of metropolitan access technologies and enables the company to offer enterprise customers new advanced data services nationwide."

With the addition of the broadband network, the company says, its infrastructure now totals approximately 9.7 million fiber miles across the country. Verizon's networks now include more than 200 links in 56 different U.S. markets, the company said.

On Tuesday, Verizon announced that it would begin charging broadband subscribers an additional monthly regulatory fee of $2 to $3, joining a trend other telecommunications providers are embracing.

The charges will begin appearing on Verizon digital subscriber line bills in May or June, depending on where a customer lives. Verizon currently charges $34.95 a month for DSL, or $29.95 a month, when the service is purchased with long-distance and local phone service.