TV Choice and Competition Near for Residents of Methuen, Mass.

METHUEN, Mass. - Residents of Methuen are a major step closer to having a real choice for their cable television services, thanks to a newly approved agreement authorizing Verizon to offer its FiOS TV service via the most advanced all-digital, fiber-optic network straight to customers' homes.

Methuen Mayor William M. Manzi III granted a cable franchise to Verizon Thursday (Sept. 6), paving the way for video choice for approximately 5,200 more Massachusetts households.

The mayor's authorization brings to 56 the total number of Massachusetts communities where Verizon's FiOS TV is or will soon be available.

"We are thrilled to be able to bring FiOS TV to residents in Methuen," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president for Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  "Since the launch of FiOS TV in Massachusetts last year, we are continuing our efforts to meet the consumer demand for cable TV choice."

Manzi said, "By granting this license, the city of Methuen has created a real choice in cable TV service for our residents.  This is a significant advantage for Methuen consumers because competition often results in new features, improved service and competitive rates. The license also provides additional funding for our public, education and government cable-access channels, and ensures that all parts of the city will be served."

FiOS TV is the company's new fiber-optic television service, which offers a better-quality picture, more high-definition and on-demand programs, and more reliable service at competitive prices.

Verizon currently offers FiOS TV to more than 380,000 households in 53 Massachusetts communities [see list below] as well as other locations in New York, New Jersey, California, Delaware, Texas, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Rhode Island and Virginia.

"As a result of this new franchise, consumers in Methuen will be able to choose their cable provider as easily as they choose their phone company," said Cupelo. "Competition drives innovation, value and service quality, and it puts the consumer in control."

Verizon is currently in negotiations with some 15 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.

The Methuen franchise 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.

"Verizon will compete aggressively for subscribers in Methuen with our FiOS services, which are fueled by our lightning-fast fiber-optic network," Cupelo said. Verizon soon will begin its door-to-door sales campaign in Methuen, explaining the many advantages of FiOS TV to local consumers.

Verizon is the first company to offer a fiber-to-the premises (FTTP) network, connecting homes and businesses directly to fiber optics on a widespread scale.

FiOS TV offers a broad collection of all-digital programming, two dozen high-definition channels, video on demand and more.   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. 

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 up to 50 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds up to 10 Mbps.* 

* NOTE: actual (throughput) speeds will vary.

[FiOS TV is available in Acton, Andover, Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Boxborough, Boxford, Burlington, Canton, Dedham, Dunstable, Framingham, Franklin, Georgetown, Hamilton, Hopkinton, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lincoln, Littleton, Lexington, Lynn, Lynnfield, Marion, Marlborough, Mattapoisett, Medfield, Melrose, Middleborough, Nahant, Natick, Needham, Newton, North Reading, Norwood, Reading, Rockland, Southborough, Stoneham, Sudbury, Swampscott, Tewksbury, Topsfield, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Wellesley, Wenham, West Newbury, Westborough, Westwood,  Wilmington, Winchester and Woburn. The company also has TV franchises in Rochester and Wareham.]

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.