Ivan Seidenberg, CEO of Verizon, vows to overpower the cable guys by plowing billions into a '90s-style broadband buildout. But will he really? Or is the most powerful man in telecom pulling a megabluff?

Creswell, Julie
May 2004
Fortune;5/31/2004, Vol. 149 Issue 11, p120
This article discusses Verizon's Ivan Seidenberg's plan to buildup the nation's broadband infrastructure. It surely wasn't happenstance that Ivan Seidenberg chose Las Vegas as the place to up the ante in the communications war. During the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the chairman and CEO of Verizon mystified attendees when he laid down his latest bet: a two-year,$ 2 billion spending plan to start digging up and replacing the last leg of the nation's century-old copper-wire telephone network. Sounding like an information-highway-crazed visionary of a decade ago, Seidenberg(Ivan Seidenberg) unveiled a scheme to bring fiber-optic cable all the way to businesses and homes, creating a high-speed infobahn from which commerce, entertainment, education, and health care would thunder into living rooms everywhere. Rival telecom companies are still lobbying the government to lower the fees they must pay Verizon and the other Baby Bells to send calls through their local networks--fees that constitute one of Verizon's most lucrative revenue streams. In the past decade the enigmatic CEO has transformed the ugliest of the Baby Bells into a major force in both the sleepy traditional phone market and the red-hot world of wireless--and he hasn't done it by showing his cards.


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