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Verizon West Virginia was the largest provider of telephone service in West Virginia until Frontier Communications purchased Verizon’s land lines in 2010.

In 1880, the first telephone exchange was established in Wheeling by the Central District Printing and Telegraph Company, the predecessor of the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company of West Virginia. C&P, incorporated in 1916, was part of the Bell system, also known as AT&T, and became the dominant provider of telephone service in the state. After AT&T was broken up in 1984, C&P began independent operations as Bell Atlantic. In 2000, Bell Atlantic merged with GTE, to create Verizon Communications, America’s largest local phone company with service in 29 states and the District of Columbia. Verizon’s primary coverage areas are in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

After the breakup of AT&T, regional Bell companies, such as Verizon, were generally limited to providing local telephone service. In 2003, Verizon West Virginia received the Federal Communications Commission’s approval to offer long-distance service in West Virginia and other mid-Atlantic and New England states. As a condition of the approval, Verizon had to open its local network to competition. By 2005, Verizon had become one of the state’s largest providers of long-distance service.

Although Verizon Wireless is the nation’s largest provider of cellular telephone services, it has a limited presence in this market in West Virginia. A joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone, Verizon Wireless principally serves areas of West Virginia located within the mid-Ohio Valley. Verizon Online provides digital subscriber line (DSL) service for high-speed Internet service throughout most of the state, and the growth of the service was part of the company’s transformation from a telephone company to a broad-based communications provider. Capital investments in the state have included the installation of more than 250,000 miles of optical fiber. Fiber-optic systems provide greater capacity, higher transmission speeds, and better quality for voice, video, and data transmitted over the network.

Verizon was West Virginia’s eighth-largest private employer with about 2,800 workers. Verizon Foundation, the company’s national philanthropic arm, provides technology-related grants to agencies and nonprofit organizations throughout the state, with an emphasis on literacy, work force development, and the use of technology to benefit communities. Verizon is a contributor to the West Virginia Encyclopedia.

Last Revised on October 11, 2010

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e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "Verizon." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 11 October 2010. Web. 22 June 2018.

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