City of Laurel Consumers One Step Closer to Real Choice for Cable TV

LAUREL, Md. - More than 36,000 potential viewers in Laurel are a major step closer to having more choice for their cable television services, thanks to the Laurel City Council's vote last night (May 22) authorizing Verizon to offer its fiber-optic-powered FiOS TV here.

The city of Laurel is the 10th jurisdiction in the Washington metropolitan area to award Verizon a cable franchise. The other jurisdictions are: Howard County and Bowie in Maryland; and Fairfax and Prince William counties, the cities of Fairfax, Falls Church, Dumfries, Herndon, and the Marine Corps Base at Quantico in Virginia.

Verizon, which launched FiOS TV last September in Keller, Texas, currently offers the service in parts of California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Virginia. The company will announce its FiOS TV plans for Laurel later this year.

"Laurel officials recognize that competition works, and benefits consumers in the video service market. They showed foresight in giving their constituents the ability to choose their video provider as easily as they now choose their phone company," said William R. Roberts, president of Verizon Maryland. "Competition drives innovation, value and service quality, and we will compete aggressively for business in Laurel with our FiOS services, which are fueled by our lightning-fast fiber-optic network.

"We hope to bring these benefits to more Maryland consumers by reaching similar agreements with other municipalities."

Under the 15-year agreement, Verizon will be able to offer FiOS TV service to residents of the city. In addition, the agreement requires Verizon to pay the community franchise fees based on the company's gross revenues on cable services.

FiOS TV is designed to be a formidable competitor to cable and satellite, offering a broad collection of all-digital programming with more than 350 total channels, nearly two dozen high-definition channels, video on demand and more. It is delivered over Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises network, which has industry-leading quality and reliability. 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. Verizon's network design includes backup facilities not common to traditional cable systems, such as duplicate "head ends" where the TV service receives national programming.

In addition to FiOS TV, Verizon's fiber network also allows the company to offer consumers and businesses high-speed FiOS Internet Service at download speeds of up to 30 mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds up to 5 mbps.* FiOS Internet Service currently is available to many consumers and small businesses in Laurel, as well as parts of Anne Arundel, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

* NOTE: actual (throughput) speeds will vary.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other communication innovations to wireline and wireless customers. Verizon operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 53 million customers nationwide; one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks; and one of the nation's premier wireline networks, serving mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 250,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.