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RICHMOND, Va. --The Virginia General Assembly Senate and House of Delegates today passed S.B. 706 and H.B. 1404, respectively. The bills are designed to accelerate competition for cable television services. The Senate and House bills now cross over to the other chamber for consideration. The following response should be attributed to Robert W. Woltz Jr., president of Verizon Virginia.
"With their action today, the Senate and House of Delegates have taken a major step toward bringing Virginians more competitive choices for their cable television services.
"When companies compete, consumers win in terms of more innovative offerings, better value and service quality. This legislation - when it becomes law - will enable companies like Verizon to invest in our network with the full confidence that we can quickly turn that investment into products consumers can buy and love.
"Instead of the typical six months to two years required to negotiate franchises under current law, this legislation will accelerate to a matter of weeks the period from upgrading the network to offering competitive cable products. We anticipate that - as this legislation becomes law - our investment will reflect the positive competitive environment in Virginia.
"We applaud Delegates Terry Kilgore and Morgan Griffth, and Sens. Kenneth Stolle and Walter Stosch, along with gubernatorial advisor Mark Rubin, for their efforts in forging a tough compromise between cable incumbents and new entrants like Verizon. They have struck the necessary balance that benefits consumers, encourages competitors and retains an appropriate amount of local control over rights of way and service.
"We urge the Senate and House to pass this legislation expeditiously so that Virginians soon will begin to see the innovation, quality and value that cable competition will bring."