NEW YORK - Verizon told the New York City Franchise and Concession Review Committee (FCRC) Tuesday (May 20) that the company is ready, committed and eager to install its advanced fiber-optics network throughout all five boroughs of the city and provide real TV choice to some 3.1 million households. Verizon is prepared to make a historic investment in the city, and plans to offer competitive cable service to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in the five boroughs later this year.
"We have the people, knowledge, resources and dedication to service to do the job and build our FiOS fiber-optic system in every New York City neighborhood," said Thomas Dunne, Verizon vice president for government affairs in New York, in testimony submitted to the committee. "We are eager to bring cable TV competition to the entire city. We know that residents here have but one choice for a wireline cable provider - the cable monopoly that happened to be granted a franchise to operate in their neighborhood."
Verizon's proposal is the first ever by a provider to offer service in every neighborhood in New York City in competition with the cable monopoly. No other company has ever proposed bringing fiber to every New Yorker's home, as Verizon plans to do. This 12-year proposed agreement is unprecedented in scope and is designed to serve the unique needs of approximately 3.1 million households that will have access to FiOS TV, including households in multiple dwelling units. The principal provisions of the Verizon franchise propose:
- One of the largest investments made by a telecommunications company in the nation's largest city: the full build-out of Verizon's state-of-the-art fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network throughout the entire city by mid-2014.
- Providing FiOS TV service to requesting customers in all five boroughs within a six-year time frame as Verizon's wire centers are upgraded to being video-capable. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will have access to FiOS TV this year.
- An all-digital lineup of more than 400 channels and a growing library of more than 10,000 video-on-demand selections.
- Payment to the city of more than $4 million for a technology and education fund that will enable service to public and municipal buildings as well as other projects.
- Payment of approximately $18 million in grants through the life of the agreement to support public access via the city's five borough-based Community Access Organizations (CAOs).
- $10 million in grants to support the city's education and government access channels.
- More than 50 public, educational and governmental access channels for use by the city and the CAOs over the life of the agreement.
- Provision of a fiber-optic institutional network (known as an INET), primarily to support the city's public safety needs.
- Pay franchise fees equivalent to five per cent of gross revenues on cable TV service, as do other cable TV providers in the city.
- An extensive and appropriate set of customer service provisions.
Currently, only two franchised legacy cable TV companies operate in separate and distinct parts of the city, leaving consumers, effectively, with little or no competitive choice for their cable TV news, information and entertainment. While satellite providers may offer some a choice, for most New Yorkers it is not an option.
Dunne said, "City residents watch as cable franchises are awarded on Long Island, in Westchester, Rockland and Dutchess counties. They want and deserve the same kind of cable choice their suburban counterparts enjoy." Dunne told the committee, "The agreement before you opens the door to cable TV choice and competition."
The FCRC hearing followed the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications' agreement with Verizon on the terms of a historic citywide cable television franchise contract. A vote by the members of the FCRC is expected to be held May 27. If the committee and the city approve Verizon's proposal, it will be submitted to the New York Public Service Commission for confirmation, as are all cable franchises in New York state. If all approvals are achieved in a timely fashion, Verizon would begin offering service to city residents later this year.
Dunne said, "Verizon is ready to compete - everywhere, in all five boroughs. We are committed to providing video and advanced broadband services to all neighborhoods in the city, regardless of ethnicity or income. That's the law - but more important, it's simply who are and how we run our business.
"We have a vested personal and professional interest in delivering the best communications services to our customers - because in so many cases, they're our friends, our neighbors and our families," he said.
Dunne pointed out that New York City-based Verizon is among the largest private employers, philanthropists and taxpayers in the city. More than 12,000 city residents are employed by Verizon, and the company has a proud history of being a union company, with a significant number of employees represented by the Communications Workers of America.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, 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 more than 67 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employed a diverse workforce of approximately 232,000 as of the end of the first quarter 2008 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.