TAMPA, Fla. - The Hillsborough County Commission 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 franchise, which gives Verizon authority to offer FiOS TV to 735,000 residents of the county, is the largest municipal franchise granted thus far in Florida to the company. Hillsborough County also joins Manatee County and Temple Terrace as the third municipality in Florida to grant a franchise to Verizon, as it continues its campaign to be permitted to deliver television services to customers in its six-county service territory. Meanwhile, Verizon continues to negotiate with the cities of Tampa and Bradenton, and Sarasota and Pasco counties while also participating in an industry push to obtain passage by the Florida Legislature of a state-issued franchise law this year.
Verizon has been deploying fiber in Hillsborough County since early 2004 and has already installed over 6.1 million feet of fiber in the county. The franchise does not apply to other communities in the county, including the cities of Tampa and Plant City.
"This is a tremendous day for the citizens of Hillsborough County," said Alan Ciamporcero, Verizon's Southeast region president. "Residents of Temple Terrace are already discovering both the benefits of competitive choice and the outstanding technological qualities of our fiber network. Verizon commends the Hillsborough County Commission for getting this job done. We look forward to building out our fiber network throughout the county and to providing our great FiOS Internet and TV services as quickly as possible."
Verizon has already placed fiber in significant portions of the county. 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) and will begin to receive FiOS TV service in the coming months. Verizon has begun selling its FiOS TV product in 14 North Texas communities near Dallas, in Temple Terrace and in communities in Virginia, New York and Massachusetts. In Keller, Texas, Verizon's first TV market, 21 percent of the homes to which FiOS TV is available have subscribed to it.
Verizon's Hillsborough County franchise will provide an unrivaled video service to county residents. Under the 15-year agreement, Verizon will provide FiOS TV to an initial service area that includes the Carrollwood, Keystone and University areas of the county, as well as areas near Sulphur Springs and Temple Terrace, within two years of the date that initial customers receive service. The company hopes to begin taking orders and installing service within 30-60 days. Other areas of the county will receive service within five years of that date, while still other parts will be connected based on actual growth and density factors.
In addition, the agreement contains provisions for cable service deployment; capacity for community access channels; cable service to 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 or 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.