West Chester Area Council of Governments Approves Verizon Cable Franchise; Choice, Competition Nearer for Residents

WEST CHESTER, Pa. - Nearly 82,000 residents in six municipalities represented by the West Chester Area Council of Governments are a major step closer to choice for their cable television services, thanks to the council's vote last night (May 22) recommending that each member community authorize Verizon to offer its fiber-optic-powered FiOS TV.

The municipalities -- the borough of West Chester and the townships of East Bradford, East Goshen, West Goshen, Thornbury and Westtown - will soon join a growing list of southeastern Pennsylvania communities that have said yes to cable competition in Chester County.

Eight other southeastern Pennsylvania communities have awarded cable franchises to Verizon. They are: the townships of Valley and East Marlborough and the borough of Modena in Chester County; Hulmeville Borough in Bucks County; Thornbury Township in Delaware County; the boroughs of Lansdale and Schwenksville; and the township of Worcester in Montgomery County. Verizon will announce availability plans for FiOS TV in Chester County and the other communities later this year.

Verizon, which launched FiOS TV last September in Keller, Texas, currently offers the service in parts of California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Virginia. The company will make FiOS TV available in Pennsylvania markets where it has negotiated franchise agreements with local authorities.

"We applaud the council of government members for their commitment to negotiate on behalf of their communities and for their foresight in putting into place the foundation that will allow consumers to choose their video provider as easily as they now choose their phone company," said William B. Petersen, president of Verizon Pennsylvania. "Competition drives innovation, value and service quality, and we will compete aggressively for business in Chester County with our FiOS services, which are fueled by our lightning-fast fiber-optic network.

"We hope to bring these benefits to more Chester County consumers by reaching similar agreements with other municipalities."

Under the agreement, Verizon would pay the communities franchise fees based on the company's gross revenues on cable services.

FiOS TV is designed to be a formidable competitor to cable and satellite, offering a broad collection of all-digital programming with more than 350 total channels, nearly two-dozen high-definition channels, video on demand and more. It is delivered over Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises 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. Verizon's network design includes backup facilities not common to traditional cable systems, such as duplicate "head ends" where the TV service receives national programming.

In addition to FiOS TV, Verizon's fiber network also allows the company to offer consumers and businesses high-speed FiOS Internet Service at download speeds of up to 30 mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds up to 5 mbps.* FiOS Internet Service currently is available to many consumers and small businesses in Chester County, as well as parts of Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware counties.

* NOTE: actual (throughput) speeds will vary.

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 53 million customers nationwide; one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks; and one of the nation's premier wireline networks, serving mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 250,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.