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Virginia P. Ruesterholz

Network Quality

Editors’ Note

Virginia Ruesterholz joined New York Telephone as a manager in 1984. After the Bell Atlantic/NYNEX merger, Ruesterholz was named Vice President – Complex Installation and Maintenance for Network Services and, later, Vice President – Operations Assurance. After the Bell Atlantic/GTE merger, Ruesterholz was named Senior Vice President of Wholesale Markets, and she most recently served as President of Verizon Partner Solutions. She will begin serving as President of Verizon Services Corp. on January 1, 2009. Ruesterholz is a recipient of the prestigious Crain’s New York Business 40 Under 40 award and the inaugural New York Women’s Agenda Rising Star award. She is a member of the board of trustees at Stevens Institute of Technology and is a director of the Manhattan Theatre Club. Ruesterholz graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology with a degree in chemical engineering in 1983. She earned an M.S. in telecommunications management from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute in 1991.

Company Brief

Verizon Telecom (www.verizon.com) offers voice, data, and video services to consumers, small and medium-sized businesses, and wholesale customers in 25 states and Washington, D.C. Verizon Telecom is deploying the nation’s most ambitious fiber optics project, offering Verizon FiOS (fiber optic services) voice, data, and video services over a single high-speed connection. Verizon Telecom is the only major telecom company installing fiber-optic lines directly to customers’ homes and to businesses across the country.

How would you categorize Verizon Telecom, after years of considerable change in the telecommunications industry?

Verizon Telecom, which is a business group of Verizon Communications, is a $30 billion broadband and entertainment company with over 100,000 employees. We provide communications services to consumer and small business customers in 25 states, as well as wholesale services to other communications carriers. Verizon is not your father’s phone company. We’ve spent the better part of the past decade transforming our company to grow and compete in the digital era. We believe that having the best network is key to being the best communications company, so we continue to differentiate our business through network quality.

In today’s challenging economic environment, what is your outlook for growth for Verizon Telecom, and where do you foresee that growth coming from?

Even in today’s challenging environment, customer demand is still the driving force in the communications and entertainment markets. With both the Internet and TV services, customers want more choice and more control over their digital experiences. We’ve seen our customers move from being passive consumers of information to being active participants in the creative process, using more social media and other two-way services. Specifically, they’re looking for faster Internet connections and more high-definition [HD] video than their current providers are able to deliver.

As the Internet continues to evolve, from basic e-mail and Web surfing into a dynamic, two-way interactive digital experience, we see a whole host of bandwidth-intensive services on the horizon. These include 3-D gaming, high-definition social networks, as well as the growth of broadband applications like telework, medical monitoring, distance learning, smart buildings and so much more. Our future growth will come from having the best network technology for these and other advanced digital applications.

Verizon Telecom is deploying high-speed fiber-optic technology, known as FiOS. Would you provide an overview of this technology?

Verizon is the only company delivering fiber-optic technology all the way to customers’ homes on a mass scale. The immense bandwidth of a direct fiber connection allows us to offer the fastest broadband speeds of any Internet provider. When it comes to TV, we can deliver high-definition signals to customers without compressing the content, like some cable providers do, which results in stunning picture and sound quality that customers remark on time and again. Our network also has the capacity to deliver a wide range of programming choices, including more HD, more video on demand, and more program diversity.

Our fiber network is also “future proof,” which means that we can easily upgrade to provide additional bandwidth as our customers’ needs evolve. So as Internet sites offer higher bandwidth applications and networks make more HD channels available, Verizon is well positioned to provide those advanced digital services that our customers will require. Verizon’s FiOS network currently passes 12 million homes, and we’re expanding at a rate of three million homes passed a year.

What has made Verizon Telecom such a leader in network innovations?

Meeting the needs of information-age customers requires physical and intellectual assets that only a handful of companies can deliver, and Verizon happens to be one of those companies. Our fiber-optic network is a huge competitive advantage, and we’ve devoted years of intellectual and financial capital to delivering a superior experience to our customers.

The commitment to innovation and investment in our network has been crucial to our growth and has made Verizon a leader in delivering the speed and capacity needed in today’s digital world. The superiority of our fiber network surpasses other commercial broadband and video technologies, and it will continue to support our growth.

Is this industry, and Verizon in particular, attracting women?

I believe we are attracting women. Can we do more? No doubt. Women make up almost half of the available U.S. labor pool, and Verizon employs close to that percentage. In addition, we’ve been recognized consistently for being a best place to work for women, including being honored by Working Mother magazine as a best place for working mothers, as well as by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council as one of the top American corporations for women’s business enterprises.