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VERIZON HIRING UP TO 5,000 TO EXPAND FIBER NETWORK

Verizon Communications, the largest U.S. telephone company, will hire as many as 5,000 workers to build a fiber-optic network to 3 million homes by the end of next year.

The fiber-to-the-premises network will be added to homes and businesses in Virginia and parts of Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, the company said in a statement, identifying those states for the first time.

Verizon is spending $800 million this year to extend fiber- optic cables to offer faster Internet access and video services in an effort to compete with cable companies such as Comcast Corp. Verizon had previously said it was building the network in California, Texas and Florida.

The company said it will hire 3,000 to 5,000 employees by the end of 2005 for the project. Verizon and its 55 percent-owned cell-phone business, Verizon Wireless, employed 208,000 workers as of June 30, up from 203,000 six months earlier, Verizon spokesman Robert Varettoni said.

Bloomberg News

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