Verizon Reaches Agreement on Cable TV Franchise With Montgomery County, Maryland

ROCKVILLE, Md. - Residents of MontgomeryCounty are a significant step closer to choice and competition for their subscription television service, as Verizon and county officials have reached agreement on a franchise that will authorize Verizon to offer its fiber-powered FiOS TV to county residents.


The 15-year agreement must be approved by the Montgomery County Council.


Verizon - the only company building a large-scale, all-digital fiber communications network directly to customers' homes – has been upgrading its MontgomeryCounty network since late 2004.  The company's fiber facilities will pass about half the households in the county by the end of this year.  If the council approves the agreement, Verizon plans to begin offering FiOS TV to these households by early next year.  The agreement also includes an aggressive timetable for further deployment in the county.


"This is fantastic news for MontgomeryCounty residents, who have endured the unrelenting price hikes and indifferent service of their incumbent cable provider far too long," said William R. Roberts, president of Verizon Maryland.  "FiOS TV will deliver more channels, superior quality and better value than Comcast’s service in MontgomeryCounty."


Before the franchise agreement becomes effective, the county must make it available for public comment, and the Montgomery County Council must approve it.


"We're eager to work with the council to bring this matter to conclusion so that Verizon can bring the many benefits of choice and competition to MontgomeryCounty residents as quickly as possible," said Roberts.


The company and the county reached the agreement with the assistance of a mediator, U.S. Magistrate Judge James K. Bredar, who was appointed by the U.S. District Court in Baltimore after Verizon filed a lawsuit against MontgomeryCounty asking the court to require the county to negotiate a lawful franchise with the company.  Verizon and MontgomeryCounty have agreed to stay Verizon's lawsuit until the county council votes on the agreement.  If the agreement is approved, the case will be dismissed.


The franchise agreement is available for viewing at www.verizon.com/maryland or on MontgomeryCounty's Web site.


Verizon's FiOS TV – a Superior Alternative to Cable


Delivered over Verizon's all-fiber network, FiOS TV is a formidable competitor to cable and satellite.  Verizon is currently upgrading to all fiber in more than half the states where the company offers landline communications services.


Since Verizon began its fiber-optic network upgrade in Maryland, the company has placed more than 29 million feet of fiber and created approximately 600 new full-time positions to build and support the network and FiOS services in the state.  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 service.*


Service highlights include:

  • A lead offer with more than 180 digital video and music channels for $39.95. 

  • More than 20 high-definition (HD) channels in the Maryland 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.

  • Home Media DVR that has a multi-room DVR feature enabling up to three simultaneous viewings of programs recorded by the device without requiring customers to set up a complex home network or buy extra equipment.  Customers can access photos and music on their PCs and play them on their TVs.

  • FiOS TV Widgets, a free interactive feature that provides local weather and traffic information.


* 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 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.