California Senate Approves Bill to Bring Benefits of Video Competition to Consumers

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - The California Senate, under the leadership of Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, on Wednesday night voted 33-4 in favor of Assembly Bill 2987, which would overhaul the state's outdated cable franchising process and pave the way for new competitors such as Verizon to offer consumers a choice in video programming, better technology and increased value in a highly dynamic marketplace. The bill, authored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and Assemblymember Lloyd Levine, chair of the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee, has already received unanimous and bipartisan support in the Assembly (77-0), the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee (10-0) and Senate Appropriations Committee (13-0). The bill now goes back to the Assembly for concurrence and a vote scheduled for later tonight or tomorrow.

The following statement should be attributed to Verizon West Region President Tim McCallion:

"Californians are one step closer to benefiting from true choice and real competition for home video entertainment.

"Verizon is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to build its new fiber-optic network in California and the project has already created over 1,000 new jobs. This bill would accelerate the deployment of this all-fiber-optic network, which sets a new standard of quality and value in television delivery to consumers across all income levels, while maintaining local government oversight in appropriate areas.

"The overwhelming support this bill has received in the state Assembly and Senate sends a clear bipartisan message: AB2987 will ensure Californians get the best deal possible for video service.

"We applaud President Pro Tem Don Perata and Senator Martha Escutia, Chair of the Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, and Senator Kevin Murray, Chair of the Appropriations Committee, for their leadership."

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 55 million customers nationwide. Verizon Business operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks. Verizon Telecom is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 252,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.