Portsmouth, Va., Residents to See More Choice, Competition as City Council Awards Cable Franchise to Verizon

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Portsmouth residents are a major step closer to having an innovative, reliable and competitive alternative for their cable television services, thanks to a unanimous vote by the City Council Tuesday night (July 22) authorizing Verizon to offer its fiber-optic-powered FiOS TV.

FiOS TV offers consumers a broad range of programming choices and superior picture quality from the only TV service delivered over the nation's most advanced all-fiber network directly connecting to millions of individual homes and businesses.  

The 15-year cable franchise covers approximately 39,000 households in Portsmouth.  Verizon, which will make the service available to all households in its initial service area in the city within three years, plans to begin offering FiOS TV later this summer. 

"Portsmouth residents soon will be able to join the fast-growing FiOS family in Hampton Roads," said Robert W. Woltz Jr., president of Verizon Virginia.  "FiOS TV offers a clear, superior alternative to the incumbent cable provider - powered by our lightning-fast fiber-optic network. 

"From ultra-fast download and unmatched upload Internet speeds to outstanding picture quality, FiOS Internet and FiOS TV services will wow Portsmouth consumers."

Portsmouth joins Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson and Virginia Beach in granting Verizon the authority to compete for cable services.  Verizon also offers FiOS TV in Northern Virginia and the Richmond area.

Virginia residents who are FiOS TV-eligible have the option to trim their monthly bills by bundling FiOS TV service, FiOS Internet service and the Verizon Freedom Essentials unlimited calling plan, all for $104.99 a month with a one-year commitment.  They also can add a Verizon Wireless calling plan for a Grand Slam of communications and entertainment services.

FiOS TV Service Highlights

FiOS TV service highlights include:

  • More than 400 all-digital channels grouped by genres such as entertainment, sports, news, shopping, movies and family, making it easy for audiences to find their favorite programming.

  • A total of 27 high-definition channels in the Hampton Roads market, with extraordinary clarity and theater-quality sound.  The company will add approximately 25 more HD channels in the near future, and plans to expand its lineup to offer all available major HD programming by year-end.

  • An industry-leading library of more than 10,000 video-on-demand (VOD) titles each month, 70 percent of which are free.  In addition, an increasing number of on-demand titles in high definition, with 1,000 HD VOD titles per month by the end of the year.

  • An easy-to-use interactive media guide that integrates HD programming, on-demand content and the digital video recorder along with broadcast television into a seamless user experience.

  • Set-top boxes ranging from a standard-definition box for $5.99 per month to the Home Media DVR, featuring a multi-room DVR that enables up to three simultaneous viewings of recorded programs without requiring customers to set up a complex home network or buy extra equipment.  The recorder is bundled with Media Manager, a new feature that lets customers easily access photos and music from their personal computer and play them on their entertainment center where they look and sound the best.  A standard definition Home Media DVR is $17.99 per month.

  • FiOS TV Widgets, a free interactive feature that provides local weather and traffic information.

Programming choices for Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Russian and other multicultural audiences are available in every market, making FiOS TV an outlet for emerging and independent networks to showcase their diverse programming.

Sports fans subscribing to FiOS TV Premier in the Hampton Roads market will also receive a host of sports channels - including Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, several ESPN channels and the NFL Network - at no extra charge. 

Portsmouth consumers can check online at www.verizon.com/fios for more information or to request that Verizon contact them when FiOS TV becomes available.  Customers also can call their local Verizon sales office or 888-GET FiOS (888-438-3467).

In addition to Virginia, Verizon currently provides FiOS TV in parts of California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas. 

FiOS TV is delivered over Verizon's all-fiber-optic network, which brings the power and capacity of fiber optics directly into people's homes and 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 50 Mbps* (megabits per second) and upload speeds of up to 20 Mbps, as well as high-quality voice services.

* NOTE: actual (throughput) speeds will vary.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, 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 more than 67 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employed a diverse workforce of approximately 232,000 as of the end of the first quarter 2008 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.