Choice and Competition for TV Service on the Way to More Rhode Island Consumers

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Residents and businesses in 10 more Rhode Island communities are one step closer to having a long-awaited choice for their video services.  Verizon has filed an application with the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (DPUC) seeking a franchise to provide the communities with FiOS TV, the company's fiber-optic-based service.

The communities are Burrillville, Central Falls, Cumberland, East Providence, Glocester, Lincoln, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, Smithfield and Woonsocket. Upon receiving approval from the DPUC, Verizon expects to be able to begin offering the service next year to some of the 115,000 households in these communities, which constitute the state's cable service areas 1 and 4.

The company is already making FiOS TV service available to an estimated 80,000 households in service area 6, which covers Coventry, East Greenwich, Exeter, North Kingstown, Warwick, West Greenwich and West Warwick. 

And Verizon is awaiting state approval to offer FiOS TV in service areas 2, 3, and 8, which include approximately 158,000 more households in Charlestown, Cranston, Foster, Hopkinton, Johnston, Narragansett, North Providence, Providence, Richmond, Scituate, South Kingstown and Westerly. The company expects to make FiOS TV available in these three service areas by the end of this year.

In Massachusetts, FiOS TV is available to some 390,000 households in 57 communities.

Rhode Island is the home to one of Verizon's Fiber Solutions Centers, which provides customer care and technical support for FiOS services throughout New England, creating some 300 new jobs in the state.  Over the past 10 years, Verizon has invested more than $700 million in Rhode Island's infrastructure.  

"Verizon presented a strong, fair franchise proposal that paves the way for more competition in one of the nation's most technology-rich markets," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon Rhode Island region president.  "We are looking forward to prompt consideration of the petition by the DPUC, as a Verizon franchise will give residents a superior choice for video services." 

Bill McGowan, business manager for Local 2323 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), said:  "The members of Local 2323, who have a long history of providing quality service, are very excited about the opportunity of offering the most sophisticated video, data and voice network to Rhode Island consumers.  This is not only good for consumers, but for our membership.  Verizon is adding new union jobs as the result of this multiyear investment of bringing fiber directly to homes and businesses."

FiOS TV is designed to be a formidable competitor to cable and satellite. Verizon is providing FiOS services on its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network.  Verizon is the only major telecom company whose fiber network has earned the certification of the independent Fiber to the Home Council for providing fiber all the way to customers' homes.

Fiber delivers amazingly sharp pictures and sound, and has the capacity to transmit a wide array of high-definition programming that is so clear and intense it seems to leap from the TV screen.  It also delivers Internet download speeds of up to 50 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps as well as high-quality voice services.

"This is not cable TV.  This is not satellite.  This is FiOS TV," said Cupelo.  "Customers who liked what FiOS did for their Internet connection will love what it does for their TV.  We've harnessed the speed and capacity of broadband with the power of broadcast to create a revolutionary, new entertainment experience."

Rhode Island residents who are FiOS TV-eligible now have the option to trim their monthly bills by bundling FiOS TV service, FiOS high-speed Internet service and the Verizon Freedom Essentials unlimited calling plan - all for as low as $94.99 a month, with no price increase for at least two years.

Verizon is providing FiOS TV service in California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia.

Service highlights include:

  • FiOS TV Premier, the lead offer, delivers more than 200 all-digital channels.

  • A total of 27 high-definition channels with extraordinary clarity and theater-quality sound.

  • A library of more than 8,600 on-demand titles, 60 percent of which are free.

  • The choice of three set-top boxes: standard definition for $4.99 per month; high definition, which includes HD channels, for $9.99 per month; and a dual-tuner, HD-capable digital video recorder for $12.99 per month.

  • Channels grouped by genres such as entertainment, sports, news, shopping, movies and family, making it easy for audiences to find their favorite programming.

  • An easy-to-use interactive programming guide that integrates HD programming, On Demand content and the digital video recorder along with broadcast television into a seamless user experience.

  • The option of Home Media DVR, featuring a multi-room DVR that enables up to three simultaneous viewings of recorded programs without requiring customers to set up a complex home network or buy extra equipment.  The recorder is bundled with Media Manager, a new feature that lets customers easily access photos and music from their personal computer and play them on their entertainment center where they look and sound the best.

  • FiOS TV Widgets, a free interactive feature that provides local weather and traffic information.

Programming choices for Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Russian and other multicultural audiences are available in every market.  Because FiOS TV has so much capacity, it is an outlet for emerging and independent networks to showcase their diverse programming.

Information on packages and prices is available at www.verizon.net/fiostv

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, 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 more than 62 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 238,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.