BOSTON - More than 56,000 potential viewers in the Massachusetts communities of Burlington, Winchester and North Reading are a major step closer to having more choice for their cable television services.
The boards of selectmen in the three towns voted last night (June 19) to authorize Verizon to offer its fiber-optic-powered FiOS TV in their communities.
The addition of these towns brings the total number of Verizon franchises in the state to 10, covering nearly 200,000 residents. The company offers FiOS TV in Woburn, Reading and Lynnfield, as well as other locations in New York, California, Texas, Florida, Maryland and Virginia. Massachusetts franchises have also been approved in the towns of Wakefield, Hamilton, Wenham and Tewksbury.
FiOS TV is designed to be a formidable competitor to cable and satellite, offering a broad collection of all-digital programming with more than 400 total channels, nearly two dozen high-definition channels, video on demand and more. Availability plans for FiOS TV in Burlington, Winchester and North Reading will be announced soon.
"There's a buzz growing about Verizon's FiOS TV," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president for Massachusetts and Rhode Island. "Burlington, Winchester and North Reading officials recognize that competition works, it benefits their constituents, and consumers are clamoring for it. The town boards showed foresight in giving residents in their communities the ability to choose their video provider as easily as they choose their phone company. We hope to bring these benefits to more Massachusetts consumers by reaching similar agreements with other municipalities."
Verizon is currently in negotiations with more than 50 other communities in Massachusetts to obtain franchises. For more information on the Verizon franchise process in the state, log onto www.verizon.com/ma.
Verizon research indicates 87 percent of Massachusetts residents favor more competition and choice for video services. Independent studies have shown that competition in the video market brings enormous benefits to consumers in the form of reduced prices, better packages and improved service.
A recent study by the Phoenix Center found that just one year's delay in franchise reform costs commonwealth residents $165 million. Under current state law, potential competitors to the incumbent cable-TV operators must obtain video franchises in each community they seek to serve. Verizon recently filed a proposal with the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy that calls for a shorter and more certain time frame for obtaining local video franchises.
Under the multi-year agreements, Verizon can begin immediately to provide FiOS TV to Burlington, Winchester and North Reading residents. In addition, the agreements contain provisions for the network's future growth; financial support and capacity for educational and government access channels; cable service to government buildings; and other important benefits to the towns, including insurance, indemnification and enforcement protections.
FiOS TV 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.*
* 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 53 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 250,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.