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Seidenberg Says ‘All Broadband, All The Time’ Due

LAS VEGAS – Promising to create an ‘all broadband all the time lifestyle’ for subscribers, Verizon chairman Ivan Seidenberg announced plans to invest $3 billion during the next two years to roll out nationwide 300-500kbps cellular-data service, speed up the conversion of the company’s local and long-distance landline network to packet-switching , and install fiber-optic lines to households to deliver data at speeds of 10-20Mbps.

Seidenberg outlined the strategy Thursday during one of the show’s Industry Insider presentations, where he also announced a first-half network-wide launch of a new service called iobi. The service links a subscriber’s home-, business-, and cellular-phone services to one another and to the web to provide more control over daily communications.

Through a personal web page viewed on any PC or on a Verizon-provided touchscreen-equipped cordless home phone, consumers will be able to view calls made to all of their phone numbers and return the calls, manage network-stored contact lists and personal calendars, and select and play back voice-mail messages left on any of their phones, Seidenberg said. Consumers will also be able to program the network to send a text message to a PC or cellphone to alert them to calls to their home or office.

The network-based service will ‘know where you are, your contacts, and your devices,’ and it will ‘make one device talk to other devices in different modes,’ Seidenberg said.

Also with iobi, consumers will be able to program the network to call-forward a call during a preset period to any one of the user’s phone numbers, program the network to convert voice-mail messages to text for delivery to a PC or cellphone, and simplify the set up of a conference call through the web interface.

To go with the service, Verizon Plans second-half availability of a home cordless phone with color touchscreen in its base to access and display an iobi subscriber’s home page. The phone, called Verizon One, incorporates a DSL modem and Wi-Fi router to create a wireless PC network in the home. It also includes a video camera to record video messages for family members or make video calls to other Verizon subscribers. Via caller ID and a map display, subscribers will be able to view the location of a landline caller or a cellular caller whose phone is GPS-equipped.

As part of Verizon’s broadband-everywhere strategy, Seidenberg announced plans to expand CDMA EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized) cellular-data service from two markets to all Verizon Wireless markets through 2005. The service will be available throughout ‘significant portions’ of Verizon’s cellular footprint beginning in the summer, and additional markets will be rolled out through 2005, he said.

The EV-DO service, dubbed BroadbandAccess, will deliver data at average speeds of 300-500kbps with peaks of about 2MB and will be marketed to consumers and businesses. In the coming months, a single EV-DO PC Card will be complemented by multiple EV-DO phones, additional PC Cards, and office modems. The service will allow for faster file transfers to laptop PCs and accelerate downloads of video, pictures, music and other content to phone handsets.