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Verizon spends $752M on Va telecom upgrades in '12

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Verizon Communications Inc. spent more than $752 million to improve its wire line telecommunications and information technology infrastructure in Virginia during 2012

The state's largest telecommunications provider, which has a couple of million customers in Virginia, said its investments will benefit residential and business customers statewide.

"The economic health of Virginia and its residents is increasingly tied to robust and modern communications networks, and Verizon's significant infrastructure investments provide a prescription for growth," Chris Childs, president for Verizon's Potomac region, said in a news release. The region includes Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

During the year, Verizon continued to deploy its fiberoptic FiOS television and Internet services and extended the availability of that service to more than 1.23 million Virginia homes and businesses. It also made upgrades to FiOS services to make them faster and more customizable.

The company also installed fiber optics to connect 790 cellular sites throughout Virginia to meet continued demand for broadband services.

Childs said advanced networks help spur innovation, commerce, business development, learning and communication, adding that the company's infrastructure investments "break down traditional technological boundaries, empowering people and businesses to connect however, whenever and wherever they want."

The company's investments come as the State Corporation Commission staff continues to monitor Verizon's performance after an unusually large number of complaints about its repair service for land line customers in 2010. Following a hearing to discuss whether Verizon was devoting sufficient resources to maintain reasonable and adequate service quality, the company is required to provide monthly reports on outages.

Verizon said the number of out-of-service complaints from phone customers reported to the SCC declined 59 percent from a year ago and were the lowest in at least seven years.

In June, the SCC also accepted an agreement between Verizon and its staff to extend the cap on price increases for basic residential telephone service in Virginia until Jan. 1, 2015. The $1-per-year cap on price increases went into effect Jan. 1, 2008 and was set to expire Dec. 31. But the $3-per-year-cap on basic business service was not extended.

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