Florida Department of State Approves Verizon's Franchise Application, Expanding Consumer Choice and Competition for 77,000 Households

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - On July 2, Verizon filed its initial application for a state-issued franchise with Florida's Department of State.  The application was made possible by Florida's new cable TV franchise law, which was signed May 18 by Gov. Charlie Crist. Today's approval of Verizon's franchise application will add the cities of Tarpon Springs and Sarasota as well as portions of Pinellas County to the company's franchised municipalities and counties in Florida, which now total 19 communities.  The law also features a provision for expanding video service into other calling areas, referred to as wire centers, in the future.  As Verizon expands its fiber network and begins to provide service to customers, it can add these new areas to its franchise application simply by filing an amendment within five days of providing initial service in the area.  The following statement should be attributed to Alan Ciamporcero, Verizon's Southeast region president:

"Today, both Florida's consumers and policymakers can see the tremendous benefits from streamlining and modernizing the cable TV franchise process.  In just nine days, we were able to gain the legal status to open up competition and choice to 77,000 households, a process that would have taken a year or more otherwise.  In addition to greater options and value for telecommunications services, communities will also be assured of continuing capital investment and jobs.

"We are both encouraged and excited by today's decision and look forward to expanding our fiber services to more customers in even more of our region in the months and years ahead."