Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Verizon Readies Commercial Launch of FiOS TV

Texas Governor Rick Perry is expected to join Verizon executives on Thursday for the public launch of its FiOS TV. The service is expected to be available on a limited basis in certain towns where Verizon has deployed its FTTP networl.

In a separate event in New York, Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg issued a call for a national growth agenda that "encourages investment and innovation in modern communications." Seidenberg called for an end to unnecessary barriers to capital investment, starting with video franchise reform. He also called for a tax policy that promotes rather than discourages investment.

Verizon currently is negotiating franchises in hundreds of communities across the country, including more than 40 local franchise authorities in New York.

Verizon has already obtained franchises in Texas, California, Florida and Virginia to offer FiOS TV to nearly a half-million households served by the company's FiOS network, and plans to unveil its first commercial offering soon.

Verizon hopes to offer FiOS TV in New York early next year.

"We're making progress in getting the franchises we need. But we think this could go faster -- and the benefits of video competition could come quicker -- if we could reform the whole franchise process," Seidenberg said.

"We're not talking about doing away with local franchise fees or local content. But we do need a broader, more streamlined solution to this issue if we're going to clear the path for technology investment and innovation in video."

Seidenberg also called for reducing the costs to U.S. businesses so they can compete globally and keep more resources here at home. The amount of property taxes Verizon pays in New York state, $336 million in 2004, outpaces every state in which the company does business, he noted.

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