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D.C. Council approves video franchise for Verizon

Wed, 12/17/2008 - 7:45am
Traci Patterson

The Council of the District of Columbia has approved legislation authorizing Verizon to offer its FiOS TV service in the nation’s capital. 

As part of the 15-year cable franchise included in the legislation, Verizon will make FiOS TV available throughout the District over the next nine years, according to the telco. The legislation now awaits Mayor Adrian Fenty’s signature.

"We thank Mayor Fenty and his administration for their continued support throughout this process, and we urge the mayor to sign this legislation quickly so that Verizon can start bringing the many benefits of cable TV choice to District residents in 2009," said William Roberts, Verizon’s regional president for Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Thus far, FiOS has been introduced largely in suburban areas; D.C. will be one of the first urban implementations, along with New York City, which approved a rollout earlier this year (story here). In Washington, Verizon will be competing with Comcast; in New York City, with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision.

Verizon is also vying for a video franchise in Philadelphia, where Comcast’s headquarters is located. Verizon has proposed a 15-year franchise agreement there, which is under review by Philadelphia’s city council. Comcast has expressed concern that Verizon will target the more affluent areas of the city (story here).

“We are watching the Verizon franchise process in Philadelphia closely to ensure competition takes place on a level playing field, with all participants being held to the same standards and commitments,” Comcast spokesman Jeff Alexander said in an e-mail to CED earlier this month. “We ask for fair and equal treatment for all providers who wish to serve the city of Philadelphia and believe that Verizon should be held, for example, to the same requirements as Comcast as it relates to serving all neighborhoods in a timely fashion."

Meanwhile, consumers in parts of Newark, Bridgeton, Atlantic Highlands, Linden, Sayreville, Shrewsbury Township and Woodbridge, N.J., now have access to Verizon’s FiOS TV and Internet services. With these latest additions, Verizon FiOS is available to consumers in 317 New Jersey cities and towns, with more to come in 2009.

The telco has also added new high-definition (HD) channels to its lineup in Portland, Ore. FiOS TV customers in the area now have more than 1,300 HD choices available at any time, with access to a total of 102 HD channels in the market and more than 1,000 free HD video-on-demand (VOD) titles each month. 

And consumers and businesses in Centreville, White Pigeon and Edwardsburg, Mich., now have access to Verizon’s high-speed Internet service.

Verizon's entry-level service offers speeds of up to 1 Mbps downstream and 384 Kbps upstream. The price is $9.99 per month for the first six months with a one-year contract, with monthly pricing for the remainder of the plan at $25.99 per month. Verizon's up-to-3 Mbps/768 Kbps service is $19.99 for the first six months as part of an annual plan, with the following six-month pricing at $33.99 per month.

More Broadband Direct:

• NCTA, cable industry offer 2-month quiet period on channel migration

• Comporium picks Evolution Digital's DTAs

• D.C. Council approves video franchise for Verizon

• ACA pushing back against FCC status reports 

• Sprint to sell retail WiMAX modem

• Motorola to freeze pension plans, cut exec pay

• Chairman Ahmed exits Sonus Networks

• Valens to demo new home net tech 

• CSG app creates personalized e-mail blasts 

• Macrovision's Powers named chair of DLNA Ecosystem Committee

• Stocks fluctuate as investors digest Fed rate cut

• Broadband Briefs for 12/17/08

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