The franchise will accelerate Verizon's rollout of its new TV service to North Texas communities in its service area where fiber deployment is actively under way. By the end of 2006, FiOS TV will be available to nearly 400,000 North Texas households with over 1 million potential viewers.
In Texas, Verizon has already secured video franchise agreements in the communities of Keller, Sachse, Westlake and Wylie. The application for the state-issued franchise is expected to be approved by the Texas commission in 17 business days.
The additional deployment in North Texas was announced today by Verizon President and Vice Chairman Lawrence T. Babbio during a speech to North Texas business leaders at the annual meeting of the North Texas Commission.
"Accelerating our FiOS TV service gives more Texans a true choice for TV service much faster than would have otherwise been possible without the historic passage of Texas Senate Bill 5," said Babbio. "The progressive legislation in Texas streamlines the ability for us to enter the video market and will bring the citizens of Texas innovative video services and better value. Best of all, this new law will encourage - rather than discourage - investment in the state of Texas."
Without such a law, it takes between six to 18 months to negotiate a municipal video franchise agreement, slowing down the ability for consumers to have a choice for video service. In communities where Verizon plans to offer FiOS TV, the company has already been coordinating with city officials to offer public, education and government (PEG) channels as part of its television lineup.
The opportunity to obtain a state-issued franchise in Texas removes a major barrier to video deployment and represents a significant economic development impact to the region, Babbio said.
The 21 additional markets where Verizon will offer FiOS TV are the Verizon service areas in: Allen, Carrollton, Colleyville, Coppell, Denton, Double Oak, Flower Mound, Fort Worth, Garland, Grapevine, Hebron, Highland Village, Irving, Lewisville, Lucas, Murphy, Parker, Plano, Rowlett, Southlake and St. Paul.
Verizon began selling FiOS TV last week in Keller, a city northeast of Fort Worth. FiOS TV is delivered over the company's 100-percent fiber-optic network using digital technology for industry-leading quality and reliability. Verizon also offers FiOS Internet Service on the same network.
As a percentage of total Verizon customers in the state, more consumers in Texas can get Verizon FiOS services than in any other state.
With FiOS Internet Service and FiOS TV, customers receive a powerful combination of crystal-clear voice, blazing-fast broadband and amazingly sharp pictures.
Verizon will aggressively market its FiOS services to win over customers from existing broadband, cable and satellite providers.
Verizon FiOS Internet Service, offering broadband speeds of up to 5, 15 and 30 megabits per second, with the potential for even higher speeds, continues to become more widely available throughout North Texas where the company has already deployed 15 million feet of fiber.
"We believe our fiber network is the start of the next wave of innovation and growth for Verizon," said Babbio. "It will provide competition and choice for our customers. FiOS TV gives Texans a genuine choice in an industry sector that has aggressively resisted competition. The record shows that, when cable is forced to compete, consumers win."
Verizon's fiber-based voice and broadband services are already available in many of these communities, and construction of the all-fiber network will continue in 2006.
Verizon's video network design includes backup facilities not common to traditional cable systems, such as duplicate "head ends" where the TV service receives national programming.
FiOS TV service highlights include:
- A lead offer with more than 180 digital video and music channels, for $39.95 a month.
- More than 20 high-definition channels, with extraordinary clarity and theater-quality sound.
- Nearly 600 video-on-demand titles available to customers now, with 1,800 by year-end.
- A wide range of local and special-interest channels not found on most cable and satellite systems.
- Channels grouped by genres such as entertainment, sports, news, shopping, movies and family, making it easy for audiences to find their favorite programming.
- An easy-to-use interactive programming guide that integrates high definition programming, video-on-demand and the digital video recorder along with broadcast television into a seamless user experience.
Verizon will expand its FiOS TV service to other states where it has secured local video franchises, including California, Florida, New York and Virginia.
More information about FiOS TV and fiber optics is available in Verizon's online News Center at www.verizon.com/news.
With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 214,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.