Verizon Begins Offering TV Service, Provider Choice to Florida's Sarasota County Residents

SARASOTA, Fla. - Verizon today began offering its FiOS TV service to 4,000 households in north Sarasota County, offering them amazingly sharp pictures and sound and a true choice for subscription television and on-demand programming, via the company's all-digital, fiber-optic network. Verizon is the only company to offer such a communications network all the way to customers in millions of homes and offices across the country.

Verizon began taking orders today for its fiber-optic TV services in an area of the county the company refers to as Sarasota Northside, bordered by University Parkway to the north, to neighborhoods in the vicinity of the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, and then running laterally from the coast to areas south of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard. This area also serves portions of south Manatee County, where Verizon has been selling its fiber-based TV, Internet and voice products to over 6,000 households since February. The availability follows the Sarasota County Commission's decision on July 12 to award a franchise to Verizon. In the months ahead, Verizon will expand FiOS TV's availability to more households in both Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

The company now has video franchises covering approximately 3 million households in nine states and over 100 franchise areas. As the fiber network is fully deployed in franchise areas, Verizon will provide these consumers with the opportunity to choose FiOS TV.

"Consumers in Sarasota County have waited a long time to break free from the control of a single cable-TV provider," said Alan Ciamporcero, Verizon's Southeast region president. "With FiOS TV and the other FiOS products, we can now offer them a choice of industry leading, fiber-based technology, packaged to provide the best value for their telecommunications needs."

Verizon continues to add programming to the FiOS TV channel lineup, creating even more value for customers. Beginning this month, the Golf Channel is a new feature of the Sports Package in Florida and in other states where FiOS TV is available.

Service highlights include:

  • A lead offer with more than 180 digital video and music channels for $39.95. With an annual savings agreement, customers can choose either $5 off the monthly Movie Package price or waive the monthly standard set-top box fee of $3.95.
  • Twenty-six high-definition (HD) channels in the Florida market, with extraordinary clarity and theater-quality sound.
  • More than 2,500 On Demand titles available to customers now, increasing to over 3,500 titles in the next several months.
  • Channels grouped by genres such as entertainment, sports, news, shopping, movies and family, making it easy for audiences to find their favorite programming.
  • An easy-to-use interactive programming guide that integrates HD programming, On Demand content and the digital video recorder along with broadcast television into a seamless user experience.
  • A dual-tuner, HD-capable DVR that gives customers the freedom to pause and rewind live TV, record one show while watching another, and fast forward to their favorite part of the program - all without a VCR, tapes or DVDs.
  • FiOS TV Widgets, a free interactive feature that provides local weather and traffic information.

Information on packages and prices is available at www.verizonfios.com/tv. Customers also can call 1-800-880-2941 to see if they are able to order FiOS TV.

Early response to the television, data and voice offerings in the region has been strong. When Verizon reported its 2006 second-quarter earnings last week, it noted that in markets where the company has been selling FiOS TV for at least six months, its penetration levels already average 10 percent.

In addition to Florida, FiOS TV is also available to customers in parts of six other states: California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Texas and Virginia. "Our plan is to add more households in Florida each month while also managing the available work force to meet consumer demand," said Ciamporcero. "We want to deliver FiOS television and high-speed Internet services to consumers as quickly as possible."

Delivered over Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network, FiOS TV is a formidable competitor to cable and satellite. The Verizon FTTP network, the largest of its kind in the country, is currently under construction in more than half the states where the company offers landline communications services, including more than 20 of Verizon's service areas in Florida.

To date, Verizon has deployed over 1.2 million feet of fiber in Sarasota County and over 25 million feet, or 4,795 miles, in Florida. By year-end, over 35 million feet of fiber will have been deployed, with more planned for 2007 and beyond. The network brings the power and capacity of fiber optics directly into people's homes and has industry-leading quality and reliability. Fiber 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. It also delivers Internet download speeds of up to 50 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps as well as high-quality voice services.

Service and Package Details

FiOS TV subscribers can choose from three simple-to-understand service offerings, each with built-in choice and value. They can then choose from packages and premium channels with programming that meets their special interests. Verizon offers three set-top boxes: standard definition for $3.95 per month; high definition, which includes HD channels, for $9.95 per month; and a dual-tuner, HD-capable digital video recorder for $12.95 per month.

The services include:

  • FiOS TV Premier, Verizon's lead offer, delivers more than 180 video and music channels for $39.95 as a stand-alone service or $34.95 a month with Verizon FiOS Internet Service or a qualifying voice plan. This tier includes access to On Demand content and requires a set-top box. High-definition channels are included in this tier at no extra charge, and customers must have an HD set-top box and an HD-ready TV to view them.
  • La Conexión, an alternative to FiOS TV Premier service designed for bilingual consumers who enjoy TV programs in English and Spanish, for $27.95 per month with Verizon FiOS Internet Service or a qualifying voice plan. La Conexión is also available as a stand-alone service for $32.95 per month. The package includes nearly 140 channels with English and Spanish-language programming and access to On Demand programming. This service requires a set-top box. High-definition channels are included in this tier at no extra charge, and customers must have an HD set-top box and an HD-ready TV to view them.

Verizon also offers FiOS TV Local, with access to local and community channels for $12.95 per month.

Consumers with a passion for movies can add the movie package with 44 channels of Starz, Encore, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Sundance and Flix, as well as 255 titles of On Demand programming, for a regular price of $11.95 a month. Sports enthusiasts can add a 15-channel sports package for $5.95 a month. Or, both packages can be purchased for $14.95 a month. In addition to the movie package, customers with a set-top box can order new, On Demand movie releases for $3.95 each or choose from a selection of movie library titles for $2.95 each.

For wrestling fans, Verizon offers World Wrestling Entertainment's WWE 24/7, a subscription On Demand service, for $7.95 a month. Karaoke fans can sing along at home with a subscription to the Karaoke package for $7.95 a month.

Verizon also offers 14 HBO channels and 12 Cinemax channels as premium services, with each set of channels available for $14.95. The price includes access to each channel's subscription On Demand library. Subscribers who want both HBO and Cinemax will pay $24.95 per month.

The value of FiOS TV extends to the installation and customer support. Specially trained Verizon technicians will install the service and acquaint subscribers with FiOS TV features and services. Verizon is waiving the installation fee for up to three existing TV outlets, and there is no charge to install a needed optical network terminal at the subscriber's home. Charges for other installation services, such as additional outlets, may apply. Verizon provides 24x7 technical assistance by phone from its specialized Fiber Solutions Centers.

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.