February 6, 2006 Monday
By Terry Maxon, Staff Writer
From Lexis Nexis

The Federal Communications Commission will hold a public hearing on video competition Friday in Keller, where Verizon Communications Inc. launched its first video service over its fiber-optic network.

Spokesman David Fiske said FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin and other commissioners "decided it would be beneficial to go out into the country where video competition is taking place, and talk to people directly involved in developing video competition."

The FCC is readying its annual report to Congress on the state of competition among video providers.

It is expected to hear from telephone and cable companies, government officials and other interested parties.

Verizon says 21 percent of its Keller customers have signed up for its FiOS video service since it was launched last September.

A third use Verizon's FiOS fiber-optic Internet service.

"It's only fitting that the FCC meet in the inaugural market of Verizon FiOS Internet and FiOS TV services," Verizon spokesman Bill Kula said.

"There is no better place than Keller, Texas, for the FCC to witness how consumers benefit when video competition is allowed," he said.

Verizon, AT&T Inc. and other telephony companies are pushing the federal government to let video providers get a single franchise to provide television service, rather than seek a franchise from each city as cable companies have had to do.

Texas lawmakers last year agreed to create state-issued franchises, and a number of companies have obtained franchises from the state's Public Utilities Commission.

A trade association of cable companies has filed state and federal lawsuits to overturn the law.