Verizon has announced it has invested more than $547 million in its fiber-optic and wireline networks in New Jersey last year as one of the largest private capital investors in the state.

Last year, Verizon continued deployment of its 100 percent fiber-optic network, with its FiOS TV and FiOS Internet services, the telecommunications giant said.

At year's end, FiOS services were available to more than 2.1 million homes and businesses across New Jersey, according to the company. Verizon has placed more than 22,000 miles of fiber-optic cables in New Jersey – enough to connect Newark to Camden and back 125 times.

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Verizon crews installing fiber optic cable in New Jersey. Verizon has invested $547 million in 2014 in New Jersey.

With the latest figures made available, Verizon’s total five-year investment in its fiber-optic and wireline service in New Jersey has now surpassed $3.2 billion, company officials said.

Paul Sullivan, president of Verizon's Mid-Atlantic North region, said such investment is significant as the economic health of New Jersey is increasingly tied to robust and modern communications networks. Private telecommunication investment, he said, makes it possible for New Jersey to move into an era of advanced technologies and communications services.

"Verizon is committed to driving economic growth in New Jersey through the ongoing, significant network investments we are making," Sullivan said. “Verizon continues to upgrade and strengthen our networks to enhance the customer experience and to keep a step ahead of the trends that are driving growth in our industry. This creates opportunities to drive innovation and use the power of our network assets to create unique communications solutions for our customers across the Garden State.”

Company officials noted that Verizon Wireless has invested more than $640 million in its New York metro region, which includes northern New Jersey, and more than $270 million in its Philadelphia Tri-State region, which includes southern New Jersey.

The investments have provided Verizon's customers improved data speeds and enhanced network capacity within the regions. Verizon Wireless also continued to expand 4G LTE and XLTE networks across the regions, to deploy small cells and distributed antenna systems in high-traffic areas, and to begin rolling out Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology.

Maintaining Affordability

In recent years, Verizon has lost millions of wired telephone customers in New Jersey as younger customers cut the cord or never even bother signing up for wired telephone service it the first place. But even as the trend continues at a rapid pace, company officials say they are committed to ensuring residents, especially those least able to afford it, have access to telephone service.

Verizon continues to offer Communications Lifeline, a program that makes residential telephone service more affordable for qualified, low-income residents and senior citizens. Eligible Verizon residential customers receive discounted phone service, ranging from zero to $1.95 per month.

“Reliable phone service is something every consumer in the state depends on,” said Leecia Eve, vice president for state government affairs. “This program has been a game changer for many and has provided those customers experiencing financial hardships continued access to the great quality phone services they have come to expect from Verizon.”

“Even as our business costs go up and our market share continues to decrease, Verizon remains committed to offering this discounted telephone service through our partnership with NJ Shares,” Eve added. Learn more at njshares.org or call 1-888-337-3339.