Verizon Seeks Franchise to Bring Rhode Island Residents Choice for Their TV Service

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Residents and businesses in seven Rhode Island communities are one step closer to having a long-awaited choice for their video services. Verizon today filed a petition with the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (DPUC) seeking a franchise to provide the communities with a fiber-optic-based alternative to their cable TV.

The communities are: Coventry, East Greenwich, Exeter, North Kingstown, Warwick, West Greenwich and West Warwick.

Verizon has already begun deploying its FTTP (fiber-to-the-premises) network in these communities and is selling its FiOS high-speed Internet service in North Kingstown and Warwick.

The company also has chosen Rhode Island as home for one of its Fiber Solutions Centers, which provides customer care and technical support for FiOS services throughout New England, creating 155 new jobs in the state. Over the past 10 years, Verizon has invested $700 million in Rhode Island's infrastructure.

"Verizon presented a strong, fair franchise proposal that paves the way for more competition in one of the nation's most technology-rich markets," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon Rhode Island region president. "We are looking forward to prompt consideration of the petition by the DPUC, as a Verizon franchise will give residents and businesses a superior choice for video services."

Bill McGowan, business manager for Local 2323 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), said: "The members of Local 2323, who have a long history of providing quality service, are very excited about the opportunity of offering the most sophisticated video, data and voice network to Rhode Island consumers. This is not only good for consumers, but for our membership. Verizon is adding, in Rhode Island alone, 155 new union jobs as the result of this multi-year investment of bringing fiber directly to homes and businesses."

FiOS TV is designed to be a formidable competitor to cable and satellite. It is delivered over Verizon's FTTP network, which 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.

"This is not cable TV. This is not satellite. This is FiOS TV," said Cupelo. "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 is providing FiOS TV service in areas of Texas, Florida, New York, Massachusetts and Virginia. Verizon also has local government authorization to provide FiOS TV in parts of California and Delaware.

Service highlights in these other states include:

  • A broad collection of all-digital programming and compelling consumer choice - with more than 330 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 product or $39.95 as a stand-alone service.
  • More than 20 high-definition channels, with extraordinary clarity and theater-quality sound.
  • More than 1,800 video-on-demand titles available to customers now, increasing to 2,000 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, video-on-demand and the digital video recorder along with broadcast television into a seamless user experience.
  • A dual-tuner 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.

Verizon provides FiOS TV over the largest fiber-to-the-premises network in the country, delivering the power and capacity of fiber optics directly into people's homes. Verizon currently is constructing fiber-to-the premise (FTTP) networks in more than half the states where it offers landline communications services. Under current state law, potential competitors to the incumbent cable-TV operators must obtain video franchises in each service area they seek to serve.

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.