THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - The California Senate Appropriations Committee, under the leadership of Sen. Kevin Murray, on Thursday voted in favor of Assembly Bill 2987, which would overhaul the state's outdated cable franchising process and pave the way for new competitors such as Verizon to offer consumers a choice in video programming, better technology and lower prices. At the same time, the bill, authored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and Assemblymember Lloyd Levine, guarantees that local communities will continue to receive franchise fees consistent with those paid by incumbent cable companies. The bill has already received unanimous and bipartisan support in the Assembly (77-0) and the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee (10-0). The bill is expected to be considered on the floor of the Senate this month. The following statement should be attributed to Verizon West Region President Tim McCallion:
"Chairman Kevin Murray and his colleagues on the Appropriations Committee have shown great leadership in supporting this bill, which would bring the benefits of true video choice and competition to millions of Californians.
"Cable prices have risen 86 percent over the past 10 years, according to the Federal Communications Commission, yet in markets where there is a choice of cable providers, consumers pay 15 percent less for video service, on average.
"Verizon is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to build its new fiber-optic network in California, creating over 1,000 new jobs. This bill would maximize the potential of that network and offer a new standard of quality and value in television delivery to consumers across all income levels, while maintaining local government oversight in important and appropriate areas.
"The unanimous and bipartisan message is clear: AB2987 will ensure Californians get the best deal possible for video service."
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, 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 nearly 55 million customers nationwide. Verizon Business operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks. Verizon Telecom is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 252,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.