Verizon Communications, the No. 1 local phone company in the country, announced plans Wednesday to launch an aggressive rollout of digital subscriber lines service.
Lawrence Babbio Jr., Verizon's vice chairman, said the company will add more than 10 million new lines to the 36 million lines now equipped with DSL, meaning 80 percent of its customer lines will be primed for broadband service by the end of the year.
The New York-based company said it's pushing forward because of new rules in the broadband sector.
Verizon's latest DSL initiative comes on the heels of a decision by the Federal Communications Commission indicating the regulatory body will not require telephone companies to share the broadband portion of their networks with competitors. The Baby Bells have long argued that such competitive requirements put them at a disadvantage to cable companies, which are not required to share their networks. The FCC is expected to clarify its policy soon.
Babbio would not discuss any financial or strategic specifics of Verizon's plan but implied the company's capital spending plans would not change in terms of raw figures.
Instead, Babbio indicated Verizon would spend less on some legacy, voice-related equipment and shift money to DSL-related gear. "We're making some very significant shifts into the new broadband, digital-related fiber area," he said.
Shares of Verizon closed Wednesday at $26.47, up 57 cents, or 2 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.