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Press Release -- March 19th, 2020
Source: Verizon
Tags:

3/18 Update: Verizon is prepared to serve customers during COVID-19 crisis

  • Verizon’s fiber optic and wireless networks have been able to meet the shifting demands of customers and continue to perform well.
  • Due to economic circumstances related to the coronavirus and to keep customers connected during this economic and global crisis; Verizon waives late fees for residential and small business customers impacted by COVID-19, offers free international calling to CDC level 3 countries.
  • Investing in our economy by increasing our capital guidance range from $17 - $18 billion to $17.5 - $18.5 billion in 2020.
  • Expanding work-from-home policy to include reduction of retail locations and hours across the country; fewer employees working at stores; limiting the number of customers in our stores at one time.
  • Created a coronavirus hub page, https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus/, across the Yahoo ecosystem that aggregates trusted and reliable news and content about the pandemic in the U.S. and across the globe.
  • Partnering with those on the front lines of the Covid-19 emergency response, first responders, federal agencies, state and local governments, and public health agencies, to deliver on critical missions during crisis.

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – During this unprecedented period challenging the world’s health and economy, Verizon stands ready to support our employees and serve our customers and public safety.

Verizon’s networks have been engineered to perform during moments of crisis and disaster such as hurricanes, snow storms and flooding. During this time of heightened worry and concern, our primary goal is to keep our customers, employees and society connected to the things that matter most to them: their family, friends and business customers.

Verizon is closely monitoring network usage in the most impacted areas. We will work with and prioritize network demand in assisting many U.S. hospitals, first responders and government agencies, as needed.

We are providing daily updates to our employees and our consumer and business customers on our network performance, offering help and support for their connectivity needs, tips on how to work in this new environment and more. We encourage you to check here every day at noon ET, for the latest updates.

Update: Effective March 18:

 Verizon’s fiber optic and wireless networks have been able to meet the shifting demands of customers and continue to perform well. In small pockets where there has been a significant increase in usage, our engineers have quickly added capacity to meet customers’ demand.

As more and more customers move to working and studying from home, we are seeing a change in data usage habits, according to the latest Verizon network report.

First responders, governments and public health agencies

We are partnering with first responders, federal agencies, state and local governments, public health agencies and others around the world at the forefront of Covid-19 emergency response to deliver on critical missions for their constituents and all of the communities that we serve.

  • We’re giving first responders priority access to our networks so that they can perform their essential duties, including saving lives, while maintaining dedicated communications with their departments, hospitals and others who are battling this crisis on the front line

  • We’re coordinating with law enforcement and emergency response teams, deploying portable cell sites to add network capacity at Emergency Operations Centers, mobile testing sites and quarantine areas nationwide.

  • In an effort to reduce the stress on hospitals and the healthcare system, we are supporting industry-specific apps to enable telehealth solutions and helping healthcare agencies care for patients and enable coronavirus testing through the use of connected technologies -- smartphones and tablets.

  • We have enabled thousands of conference lines for federal, state, local and healthcare organizations to enable new, secure work-from-home strategies, and launched new interactive voice response services (IVRs) to help both healthcare and public sector agencies prioritize and more effectively route incoming coronavirus-related calls.

  • The Verizon Response Team, which supports governments and nonprofits 24/7/365, is responding to local public sector and government customer needs for additional connectivity, assets and equipment as needed. Teams are also working with government agencies to stand up additional call centers and work-from-home solutions that help serve citizens.

Our retail stores

Out of an abundance of caution and to balance the safety of our employees with that of our customers, all Verizon owned and operated stores will be closed on Sundays beginning March 15 through Sunday, April 12. In addition, from March 15 - 31, stores that are open will operate on reduced hours Monday thru Saturday, 10 AM-5 PM. Customers can find an up to date listing of store hours/locations by visiting: https://www.verizonwireless.com/stores.

Beginning Tuesday, March 17, in order to increase social distancing and allow more employees to take advantage of work from home, we’re reducing by 50 percent, the number of employees working shifts in our retail locations and paying employees for any shifts they may miss due to these scheduling changes. In addition, the number of customers in a store may not exceed the number of employees working at any given time.

Customer relief

Verizon will offer free international calling to countries identified by the Center for Disease Control as level 3 impacted by the coronavirus effective 3/18 through the end of April. This is available to wireless postpaid consumer and small/medium business customers, and landline home phone customers. Unlimited calls will be included to mobile and landline termination, with the exception of Iran, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia, which will be provided 300 minutes of free calls per month. Effective 3/19, wireless prepaid customers will also receive a total of 300 additional minutes to call level 3 countries.

Verizon will also waive activation fees on new lines of service and upgrade fees starting March 18. This applies to all purchases and service-only activations made through Verizon digital channels, such as verizonwireless.com and the My Verizon app.

Update: Effective March 14:

In order to help flatten the curve of the pandemic, Verizon will be temporarily closing a number of its stores across the country in order to expand its work from home policy to include some of its retail employees.

As noted in a letter from Hans Vestberg, in order to help flatten the curve of the pandemic, Verizon will be temporarily closing a number of its stores across the country in order to expand its work from home policy to include some of its retail employees. Our teams are able to serve customers 24/7 by visiting verizonwireless.com/support/, calling 800.922.0204 or through the MyVerizon app.

In addition,Verizon announced support for relief efforts across communities impacted by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by tripling its monthly data allowance for its Verizon Innovative Learning schools and committing $10 million to nonprofits directed at supporting students and first responders.

As the list of nationwide K-12 schools shifting to remote learning heightens, Verizon is supporting the students and teachers in its Verizon Innovative Learning program, the company’s education initiative targeting Title 1 middle schools, by tripling their data allowances.

Update: Effective March 13

Verizon will waive late fees and keep residential and small business customers connected if negatively impacted by the global crisis.

Update: Effective March 12

Verizon will accelerate network investment and increase capital guidance.


Verizon networks continue to perform strongly

Since the emergence of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the company has not seen a measurable increase in data usage - despite some businesses, schools and other organizations encouraging employees to work remotely and students to take classes online. Verizon’s networks are designed and built to meet future demand and are ready should demand increase or usage patterns change significantly.

Customers rely on Verizon networks

With years of steady month-over-month wireless data usage growth, as a standard practice, the company’s engineers are constantly adding capacity on the wireless and fiber networks to better serve customers. The network improvements are often recognized by independent third party reviews including recent research by RootMetrics, which has ranked Verizon first in overall performance and reliability in each of their last 13 consecutive drive test reports.

Recent technological advancements including the addition of small cells, deployment of carrier aggregation, MIMO antenna technology advancement, use of shared spectrum such as License Assisted Access (LAA) and Citizens Band Radio Spectrum (CBRS), 256 QAM, and fiber advancements have increased efficiency in the wireless and fiber networks resulting in greater capacity and speed for customers.

“Verizon operates its networks every day as though it’s a snow day -- events when millions of Americans work from home while family members go online to watch videos, play games and talk and text to their friends and families,” said Kyle Malady, Verizon’s chief technology officer. “Delivering reliable networks is what we do. While this is an unprecedented situation, we know things are changing, and we are ready to adjust network resources as we better understand any shifts in demand. We have the best engineers in the world monitoring the situation closely.”

“We continually evaluate peak data usage times and build our networks to stay ahead of that demand,” said Malady. “While we may see the hours where peak data usage shifts from evening to daytime, our network is built to manage evolving demands. While it is not clear yet how having millions of additional people working from home will impact usage patterns, we are ready to address changes in demand, if needed.”

Like any crisis or significant event in which additional network resources may be needed, the company is able to deploy additional resources to add capacity and has a fleet of mobile assets including portable COLTs (cells on light trucks) and COWs (cells on wheels/trucks), mobile charging stations, and more to support first responders and their mission critical needs.

In addition to its wireless and fiber networks, Verizon also operates a global IP backbone network spanning six continents. It is built with resiliency in mind; it is one of the most connected Internet backbones in the world, offers speeds of up to 100 GB, and deploys mesh technology to enable multiple diverse paths for network traffic as required. Performance is constantly monitored by Verizon's five global Network Operations Centers, 24 x 7, 365.

Investing today, for the future

The company is pledging to use the power of connectivity now to help keep the nation’s economy moving forward. Equally important, it’s focused on the future, beyond this current crisis, as reflected in Verizon’s announcement on March 12, that the company is increasing its capital investment guidance from $17 to $18 billion to $17.5 to $18.5 billion in 2020.

“We’re looking towards the future and increasing our investments so that we’re poised to offer even more robust networks, to meet future demands, in the years to come,” said Hans Vestberg, Verizon Chairman and CEO. “We are very confident in our company’s ability to meet current demands in providing a great network experience.”

Vestberg added: “Our customers -- including critical government and public safety agencies -- rely on us for proven reliability. I want to thank our dedicated Verizon employees who continue to work tirelessly, day in and day out, to ensure our essential communications services are available to our customers so they can stay connected where and when they need it most.”

Keeping America connected

Verizon announced (March 13), for the next 60 days, it will waive late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus. In addition, the company will not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus.

Verizon signed onto the FCC’s new “Keep Americans Connected” pledge. Verizon’s new customer commitment will help ensure connectivity and offer assistance to customers and small businesses facing challenges from the global crisis.

For first responders

We offer priority access to our network for first responders and public safety officials, and our Fios broadband customers always have unlimited access to home broadband service for their work from home or remote learning needs.

For consumers

Our consumer customers have access to competitively priced unlimited wireless plans and can use online tools to make changes to accounts or device upgrades 24 x 7, which includes access to virtual tech coaches and assistance.

Residential and wireless customer inquiries can be answered by using the following links:

For business customers

Verizon is encouraging business and government customers, in particular, to review their continuity plans. Proper planning can help mitigate impact and help minimize potential business disruptions.

Here are five strategies businesses should consider:

  • Prepare your networks for a remote workforce
  • Implement technology that enables remote collaboration
  • Prioritize and develop a critical infrastructure plan
  • Use tools to give customers confidence and access
  • Secure both physical and network access points

Our business customers have access to competitively priced unlimited wireless plans and can use online tools to make changes to accounts or device upgrades 24 x 7, which includes access to virtual tech coaches and assistance. Business customer inquiries can be answered by using the following links: https://www.verizon.com/business/gateway/

We’re all in this together

The health and well-being of our employees is very important and we are taking steps to mitigate risks for Verizon employees. We have increased our cleaning levels. Cleaning solutions approved by the EPA and recommended by the CDC are being used to provide a clean and safe work environment for employees. Surfaces and touchpoints are being wiped down daily as part of the effort to clean and sanitize the retail stores, office workspaces, garages and other people spaces. We are following recommendations of the WHO, CDC and other national health authorities, and are continuously monitoring the situation.

Following the guidance and direction of the U.S. Government, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, we’ve implemented best practices, travel restrictions and alternative working arrangements where possible to protect the health and welfare of our employees.

Helpful tips

YAHOO: COVID-19 News Resource During a time of crisis, it is more important than ever that our customers can rely on news and content they trust. We have created a coronavirus hub page, covid19.yahoo.com, across the Yahoo ecosystem (News, Finance, Sports, Lifestyle & Entertainment) that aggregates the latest news about the pandemic in the U.S. and across the globe to ensure that customers are getting trusted up-to-date news in real time.

ARTICLE: Beware of scams, there are some who are Profiting from panic.

ARTICLE: How to clean your iPhone to kill the new coronavirus and other germs

ARTICLE: 5 ways to limit kids’ screen time while working from home

FAQS: COVID-19 FAQs


Forward-looking statements

In this communication we have made forward-looking statements. These statements are based on our estimates and assumptions and are subject to risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements include the information concerning our possible or assumed future results of operations. Forward-looking statements also include those preceded or followed by the words “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “expects,” “hopes” or similar expressions. For those statements, we claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We undertake no obligation to revise or publicly release the results of any revision to these forward-looking statements, except as required by law. Given these risks and uncertainties, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. The following important factors, along with those discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), could affect future results and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements: cyber attacks impacting our networks or systems and any resulting financial or reputational impact; natural disasters, terrorist attacks or acts of war or significant litigation and any resulting financial or reputational impact; disruption of our key suppliers’ or vendors' provisioning of products or services; material adverse changes in labor matters and any resulting financial or operational impact; the effects of competition in the markets in which we operate; failure to take advantage of developments in technology and address changes in consumer demand; performance issues or delays in the deployment of our 5G network resulting in significant costs or a reduction in the anticipated benefits of the enhancement to our networks; the inability to implement our business strategy; adverse conditions in the U.S. and international economies; changes in the regulatory environment in which we operate, including any increase in restrictions on our ability to operate our networks; our high level of indebtedness; an adverse change in the ratings afforded our debt securities by nationally accredited ratings organizations or adverse conditions in the credit markets affecting the cost, including interest rates, and/or availability of further financing; significant increases in benefit plan costs or lower investment returns on plan assets; changes in tax laws or treaties, or in their interpretation; and changes in accounting assumptions that regulatory agencies, including the SEC, may require or that result from changes in the accounting rules or their application, which could result in an impact on earnings.

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