Verizon to File First Application Under New Jersey's New Pro-Consumer Video Franchise Law
NEWARK, N.J. - Verizon today (Thursday, Nov. 2) will file the first application for a video franchise in New Jersey under the state's newly enacted, streamlined video franchise law, putting thousands of New Jersey households within just a few weeks of true choice and competition in the cable television marketplace. If the Board of Public Utilities, the cable franchising authority in New Jersey, gives its approval, Verizon expects to begin offering television service, to some communities in the state, in the second half of December.
In the application, Verizon is seeking authorization to offer its FiOS TV to consumers in 316 communities in New Jersey, with more to come. The initial filing covers 2.1 million households, or 70 percent of the homes in the state.
The company's bold plans would provide New Jersey with one of the most extensive fiber-optic networks in the country -- not only for TV, but also for high-speed Internet.
"We're throwing open the door to video choice in New Jersey, and consumers will be the true winners," said Dennis Bone, president, Verizon New Jersey. "We will soon serve more communities in New Jersey than any of the current cable-TV operators have served in the past three and a half decades."
The filing comes three days after Verizon, in its third-quarter earnings statement, reported brisk sales of its broadband products around the nation. The company said it added 448,000 net broadband connections in the third quarter 2006. Over the past year, the company has added more than 2 million net new DSL and FiOS Internet customers.
Verizon's FiOS TV packages have proven to be immensely popular in places where the company is selling the service around the nation. Verizon had 118,000 FiOS TV customers at the end of the third quarter, after less than a year in most markets. In New Jersey, Verizon expects to have its FiOS television products available to about 450,000 households by March. More than 99 percent of Verizon's FiOS TV customers subscribe to the company's Premier product offering.
"Our plans put New Jersey at the forefront of fiber deployment," said Bone. "This will lead to access and availability of the most cutting-edge broadband products available anywhere in the nation."
Verizon's FiOS TV service is a formidable competitor to cable and satellite. For $42.99, Verizon's FiOS TV Premier package includes nearly 200 channels of all-digital programming, more than 20 high-definition channels, a video-on-demand library with 3,000 titles, and much more. It is delivered over Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network, which has industry-leading quality and reliability.
Verizon is the first company to offer such a communications network, connecting homes and businesses directly to fiber optics on a widespread scale. And only Verizon's FTTP network has earned the certification of the independent Fiber to the Home Council for providing fiber all the way customers' homes and businesses.
Verizon's filing also comes 90 days after Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed the Cable Choice and Competition Act, the first day that such an application could be submitted under the new law. The new streamlined franchise process allows existing cable television companies and new providers to go directly to the state when filing for a video franchise agreement.
"This new law has, in effect, signaled to Verizon that New Jersey eagerly wants real competition in the video marketplace and all of the benefits associated with it," said Bone. "We have an aggressive product rollout schedule planned."
Under the law, the Board of Public Utilities must act on the franchise application within 45 days. Two public hearings on the matter have been scheduled this month - Nov. 17 in Newark and Nov. 21 in Cherry Hill.
Upon approval of the franchise application, Verizon will contact consumers when its FiOS television services are ready to be marketed and installed. Verizon already provides super-fast FiOS Internet Service in more than 100 communities in the state.
Verizon now has more than 1,000 technicians building and installing the fiber network throughout the state. The company expects to hire additional technicians in the coming months to meet the anticipated demand.
"All customers want is more channels, more choice and more value, delivered on an all- fiber, next-generation network," said William Foshay, senior vice president and general manager, Verizon New Jersey. "Because of this new law, we're building our fiber network faster. Once consumers see and experience the fiber difference, we expect our FiOS TV and broadband products to be the must-have television service in communities throughout the state."
Verizon, which launched FiOS TV just a year ago in Texas, currently offers the service in parts of California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Virginia. The company now has video franchises covering approximately 3 million households in nine states and nearly 200 franchise areas.
Verizon's fiber network 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 of up to 50 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds of up to 10 Mbps.*
* NOTE: actual (throughput) speeds will vary.
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 57 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 approximately 250,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.