Hamilton, Wenham, Mass., Boards Grant Verizon Authority to Offer FiOS TV to More Than 12,500 Potential Viewers

BOSTON, Mass. - The long wait will soon be over for Hamilton and Wenham residents eager for cable-TV competition, thanks to unanimous votes from the boards of selectmen Tuesday night (May 23) authorizing Verizon to offer its fiber-optic-powered FiOS TV in their communities.

With more than 12,500 potential viewers combined, Hamilton and Wenham join the growing number of Massachusetts communities granting Verizon cable franchises. On Monday, the town of Wakefield also approved a cable franchise agreement with Verizon. The company offers FiOS TV in Woburn, Reading and Lynnfield, Mass., as well as other locations in New York, California, Texas, Florida, Maryland and Virginia.

Verizon launched FiOS TV Sept. 22, 2005, in Keller, Texas, unveiling a broad collection of all-digital programming with more than 350 total channels and more on the way. Availability plans for FiOS TV in Hamilton and Wenham will be announced soon.

"We applaud the selectmen and the town managers for moving Hamilton and Wenham to the forefront of communities nationwide where consumers will be able to choose their cable provider as easily as they choose their phone company," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president for Massachusetts and Rhode Island. "Competition drives innovation, value and service quality, and it puts the consumer in control."

Verizon is currently in negotiations with more than 40 other communities in Massachusetts to obtain additional franchises. For more information on the Verizon franchise process in the state, log onto www.verizon.com/ma.

Verizon research indicates 87 percent of Massachusetts residents favor more competition and choice for video services. Independent studies have shown that competition in the video market brings enormous benefits to consumers in the form of reduced prices, better packages and improved service.

A recent study by the Phoenix Center found that just one year's delay in franchise reform costs Commonwealth residents $165 million. Under current state law, potential competitors to the incumbent cable-TV operators must obtain video franchises in each community they seek to serve. Verizon recently filed a proposal with the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy that calls for a shorter and more certain time frame for obtaining local video franchises.

"Verizon will compete aggressively for subscribers in Hamilton and Wenham with our FiOS services, which are fueled by our lightning-fast fiber-optic network," Cupelo said.

Under the 15-year franchise agreements, Verizon can begin immediately to provide FiOS TV to Hamilton and Wenham. In addition, the agreement contains provisions for the network's future growth; financial support and capacity for educational and government access channels; cable service to government buildings; and other important benefits to the town, including insurance, indemnification and enforcement protections.

FiOS TV is designed to be a formidable competitor to cable and satellite. 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.*

* 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.