HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. - Verizon is introducing its FiOS TV service in several areas of the country -- including here in Nassau County -- providing consumers for the first time with a real choice in TV providers. And where real and fair competition exists, consumers benefit through reduced prices and improved service.
Contrary to what some groups have claimed, Verizon's new fiber network and FiOS TV service that offers an alternative to long-time cable TV monopoly Cablevision will serve all of the Town of Hempstead on Long Island.
Monica Azare, Verizon senior vice president for New York, also set the record straight on allegations that the company intends to serve only some parts of the town.
She said, "These allegations are completely untrue, and they serve only to protect the incumbent cable operator. Redlining violates not only the law, but the agreement we have negotiated with the Town of Hempstead itself. We don't do it. We never have and we never will. Period."
The agreement will be considered at a Hempstead Town Council hearing tomorrow (April 4).
Azare noted that the accusations against Verizon are based on misinformation from the New York State Cable TV Association. "And let's not kid ourselves, on Long Island, that's Cablevision," she said.
"Cablevision seeks to hold onto monopoly power here in Nassau, across Long Island and elsewhere. By their actions, Cablevision is denying residents - their own friends and neighbors here on Long Island - the opportunity to have a choice in their TV provider," she said.
As a result of its rollout of fiber optics, Verizon has developed its FiOS TV product as an alternative to traditional cable TV service. In order for Verizon to provide this video service, it must be authorized by towns and villages on Long Island through so-called franchise agreements.
Azare said that the company has been in the process of building out its network in the Town of Hempstead with its advanced fiber-to-the-premises systems. By the end of this year the percentage will be about 65 percent, and by the end of 2007 up to 87 percent of the both the franchise area and town will be served by fiber.
Azare also pointed out that the current franchise agreement with the town and New York State Public Service Commission requirements call for Verizon to have the entire town served by fiber within five years. "And we will do that," she said.
By contrast, she noted, the incumbent cable provider had 20 years to complete its buildout in the town. "We'll have our service completed in a fraction of that time," she said.
Among the many communities currently served by fiber within the town are Lakeview, Valley Stream and surrounding areas, Hicksville and Plainview.
As part of its 2006 construction program, the company is building fiber systems in Freeport, Roosevelt, Baldwin, Merrick, Elmont and Franklin Square.
In 2007, the company will build in the Village of Hempstead, Uniondale and West Hempstead, and Long Beach and surrounding communities.
"We have built or are building in dozens and dozens of communities. We want all residents to take advantage of the benefits of choice, advanced technology and better service," Azare noted.
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.