New Jersey Residents Call on Lawmakers to Speed Choice and Competition in New Jersey's TV Market

TRENTON, N.J. -- New Jerseyans are tired of the cable industry's monopoly. They want choice and competition, and they want it now.

In a poll commissioned by Verizon, an overwhelming number of respondents expressed strong support for updating New Jersey's outdated video franchise laws.

"New Jersey residents are tired of opening their cable bills each January and finding their bills have increased 6 percent or 7 percent," said Dennis Bone, president of Verizon in New Jersey. "Residents from across the state are telling us they want true competition in the video marketplace, and they're calling on the Legislature to update New Jersey's antiquated franchise rules."

Not surprisingly, almost seven of 10 homeowners (69 percent) agree that it should be easier for companies to compete to provide television service in New Jersey. When told about Verizon's plan to provide consumers with innovative cable television service, support rose by 8 percent, to a total of 77 percent.

"As we've seen in many places across the nation, consumers are saving an average of 15 percent or more when Verizon begins offering FiOS TV," said Bone. "New Jerseyans could easily benefit from those same savings. The question is whether the cable industry will give up its stranglehold and get out of the way."

In addition, an overwhelming number of respondents also believe that the cable industry is opposing Verizon only because it's trying to maintain its monopoly.

"We aren't surprised by these poll results. We know there is a thirst among consumers for a better alternative," said Bone. "Updated, streamlined franchising rules will mean more choice and more value for cable TV services. This survey quantifies, in a dramatic way, the overwhelming support New Jerseyans have for choice and competition."

Under New Jersey's 34-year-old video franchise laws, any company seeking to offer video services much obtain a franchise in each municipality in which the company seeks to offer cable-TV service, a time-consuming process. Verizon serves 526 municipalities in New Jersey with voice and data services. So far, Verizon has filed for 49 local franchise agreements in New Jersey.

The validated survey, conducted last week for Verizon by the Benenson Strategy Group, is based on 800 telephone interviews. All respondents were 18 years of age or older, as well as registered voters and homeowners in the Garden State, and were randomly selected. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.46 percent.

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 51.3 million customers nationwide; one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks; and one of the nation's premier wireline networks, serving home, business and wholesale customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of approximately 250,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.