Verizon Launches FiOS TV in Howard County; First Rollout in Maryland

COLUMBIA, Md. - Verizon unveiled FiOS TV in Maryland today to approximately 11,000 Howard County residents in Clarksville, Columbia and Ellicott City - the first communities in the state to receive the company's new fiber-optic video service. Verizon will begin taking customer orders immediately.

"This is not cable TV. This is not satellite. This is FiOS TV," said William R. Roberts, president of Verizon Maryland. "Customers who liked what FiOS did for their Internet connection will love what it does for their TV. We've harnessed the speed and capacity of broadband with the power of broadcast to create a revolutionary, new entertainment experience."

Verizon, the only company building a large-scale, all-digital fiber-optic communications network directly to customers, launched FiOS TV in Keller, Texas, last September. The company also now offers the service in parts of California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Virginia.

Service highlights include:

  • A broad collection of all-digital programming and compelling consumer choice - with more than 350 total channels and more on the way.
  • A lead offer with more than 180 digital video and music channels, for $34.95 a month with Verizon FiOS Internet Service or a qualifying voice plan or $39.95 as a stand-alone service.
  • More than 20 high-definition channels, with extraordinary clarity and theater-quality sound.
  • More than 2,200 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 high-definition (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.

Information on packages and prices is available at www.verizon.net/fiostv. Howard County customers also can call 1-800-880-2943 to see if they're able to order FiOS TV.

Verizon obtained a local video franchise in Howard County in January and is currently in negotiations with numerous municipalities in Maryland to obtain additional franchises. Under current state law, potential competitors to the incumbent cable-TV operators must obtain video franchises in each community they seek to serve.

"Howard County is fortunate to be among the first to gain access to this new service," said Howard County Executive Jim Robey. "Verizon's delivery of FiOS TV to our community now offers residents a choice in the way they wish to have video and Internet services delivered to their homes. This is an exciting option, especially for a county whose residents have been noted as some of the most 'tech-savvy' in the nation."

Howard County Council Chairman Chris Merdon said, "We're pleased to be the first county in Maryland whose residents will benefit from this new level of service from Verizon. Consumer choice in this industry should encourage a competitive pricing environment and high-quality service."

Delivered over Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network, FiOS TV is designed to be 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 numerous Maryland communities in Anne Arundel, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

The network brings the power and capacity of fiber optics directly into people's homes and has industry-leading quality and reliability. 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. It also delivers Internet download speeds of up to 30 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps as well as high-quality voice services.

Since Verizon began building its fiber-optic network in Maryland, the company has placed more than 22 million feet of fiber and created hundreds of new full-time positions to build and support the network and FiOS services in the state.

Programming choices for Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Russian and other multicultural audiences are available in every market. Since FiOS TV has so much capacity, it is an outlet for emerging and independent networks to showcase their diverse programming.

In addition, sports fans subscribing to Expanded Basic, the lead Verizon FiOS TV offer, can follow regional teams and events through agreements Verizon has reached with Comcast Sports Net - Mid- Atlantic and the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN). Featured teams on Comcast Sports Net - Mid- Atlantic include the Capitals, DC United, Mystics, Orioles, Ravens, Redskins and Wizards, as well as NCAA games. MASN features Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles games.

Service and Package Details

FiOS TV subscribers can choose from three simple-to-understand service offerings, each with built-in choice and value. They then can 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:

  • Basic, with access to 15-35 local broadcast weather and community channels for $12.95 per month. The service is digital with a set-top box, which also provides access to On Demand programming. Basic is also available as an analog service that does not require a set-top box for viewing.
  • Expanded Basic, Verizon's lead offer, delivers more than 180 video and music channels for $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 Expanded Basic 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. HD 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 FiOS TV customers who sign up for 12 months of Expanded Basic or La Conexión will receive additional discounts through a newly instituted annual savings agreement. FiOS TV customers will have the choice of receiving $5 off the monthly Movie Package price for an annual savings of $60. Or, customers can waive the monthly standard set-top box fee of $3.95 - an annual savings of $47.40.

Consumers with a passion for movies or sports can add the movie package with 44 channels of Starz, Encore, Showtime and The Movie Channel for a regular price of $11.95 a month and a 15-channel sports package for $5.95 a month. Or, they can buy both packages 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 and selections from a movie library 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 also provides 24x7 technical assistance by phone from its Fiber Solutions Centers.

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.