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BRADENTON, Fla. - The Bradenton City Council today voted for consumer choice and competition in the cable-TV market by awarding a far-reaching video franchise to Verizon for its FiOS TV product, to be delivered via its new, all-fiber network.
The Bradenton franchise brings competition and consumer choice to 54,000 residents in the city. It marks the second franchise granted in this community, following the affirmative decision reached by the Manatee County Commission in August 2005. Bradenton joins Manatee County, Temple Terrace and Hillsborough County as the fourth municipality in Florida to grant a franchise to Verizon as the company continues its campaign to be permitted to deliver television services to customers in its service territory.
The Bradenton and Manatee County franchises mean that nearly 300,000 residents in the community will begin enjoying stepped-up competition and more consumer choice to the region's existing cable-TV and satellite services. When the four franchises in Florida are combined, the number of west central Florida residents who can look forward to market competition increases to over 1 million.
Some areas in southernmost Manatee County can now order FiOS TV, and it is expected that additional residents in Bradenton will have access to the service by sometime this year. The franchise does not apply to other communities in the county, including the cities of Palmetto, Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Longboat Key.
"This agreement represents another tremendous development for consumers in Bradenton and adds to the momentum we are beginning to experience with our franchise efforts in Florida," said Alan Ciamporcero, Verizon's Southeast region president. "Already, residents in the county are joining customers in Temple Terrace who are enjoying the leading edge of a new era for video and broadband services in Florida. Bradenton's City Council understands how the market has changed and that consumers want competition and choice for video and broadband services sooner rather than later.
"Verizon commends Bradenton's progressive attitude. We look forward to further building out our fiber network and bringing its benefits to the city's residents as quickly as possible," Ciamporcero said.
Verizon has already placed fiber in portions of its Bradenton Bay switching center, which serves some city residents, and will expand its fiber footprint in Manatee County to pass 38,000 households - many of them in the city limits -- by year-end. As the fiber network is completed, residents will enjoy FiOS broadband products that deliver very fast data speeds ranging from up to 5 Mbps to up to 30 Mbps (megabits per second). Verizon has already begun selling its FiOS TV product in parts of six states, including 14 north Texas communities and communities in New York, Massachusetts, Virginia and California. In Florida, Manatee County has joined Temple Terrace as FiOS triple-play markets, where Verizon is offering data, voice and video services. In Keller, Verizon's first TV market, 21 percent of the residents there have ordered FiOS TV.
Verizon's Bradenton franchise will provide an unrivaled video service to city residents. Under the agreement, which covers 15 years, Verizon will provide FiOS TV to portions of Bradenton where Verizon's fiber network is currently under construction. Verizon will extend FiOS TV to additional geographic areas within the city as the network is extended.
In addition, the agreement contains provisions for the network's future growth; financial support for governmental access channels; a $25,000 commitment to the city to pay for television equipment for the channels; ongoing support of four cents per subscriber, to be paid quarterly; cable service to certain government buildings at no cost; and other important benefits including insurance, indemnification and enforcement protections.
Verizon's FiOS TV delivers hundreds of digital video and music channels, high-definition programming, video-on-demand content, a robust interactive programming guide and other customer-friendly features. Verizon is constructing its fiber-optic network in 16 states, or more than half the states where it offers landline communications services.
Customers can buy FiOS TV as a stand-alone service or packaged with voice and FiOS high-speed data services, which are already available in some areas. For information on Verizon's FiOS Internet Service and FiOS TV offerings, visit www.verizon.net/fios and www.Verizon.net/fiostv.
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.