On Tuesday, Verizon told the New York City Franchise and Concession Review Committee (FCRC) that the telco is ready, committed and eager to install its fiber optic network throughout all five boroughs of the city and provide its FiOS TV service to some 3.1 million households.
“We have the people, knowledge, resources and dedication to service to do the job and build our FiOS fiber optic system in every New York City neighborhood,” said Thomas Dunne, Verizon’s VP for government affairs in New York, in testimony submitted to the committee. “We are eager to bring cable TV competition to the entire city. We know that residents here have but one choice for a wireline cable provider – the cable monopoly that happened to be granted a franchise to operate in their neighborhood.”
Verizon’s proposal is the first ever by a provider to offer service in every neighborhood in New York City in competition with the cable monopoly, the telco said. The 12-year proposed agreement is designed to serve the needs of approximately 3.1 million households that will have access to FiOS TV, including households in multiple dwelling units (MDUs).
The principal provisions of the Verizon franchise propose:
- The full build-out of Verizon’s fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network throughout the entire city by mid-2014.
- Providing FiOS TV service to requesting customers in all five boroughs within a six-year time frame as Verizon’s wire centers are upgraded to being video-capable. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will have access to FiOS TV this year.
- An all-digital lineup of more than 400 channels and a growing library of more than 10,000 video-on-demand (VOD) selections.
- Payment to the city of more than $4 million for a technology and education fund that will enable service to public and municipal buildings, as well as other projects.
- Payment of approximately $18 million in grants through the life of the agreement to support public access via the city’s five borough-based Community Access Organizations (CAOs).
- $10 million in grants to support the city’s education and government access channels.
- More than 50 public, educational and governmental access channels for use by the city and the CAOs over the life of the agreement.
- Provision of a fiber optic institutional network (known as an INET), primarily to support the city’s public safety needs.
- Pay franchise fees equivalent to 5 percent of gross revenues on cable TV service, as do other cable TV providers in the city.
- An extensive and appropriate set of customer service provisions.
The FCRC hearing followed the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications’ agreement with Verizon on the terms of a citywide cable TV franchise contract. A vote by the members of the FCRC is set for May 27. If the committee and the city approve Verizon’s proposal, it will be submitted to the New York Public Service Commission for confirmation, as are all cable franchises in New York state. If all approvals are achieved in a timely fashion, Verizon would begin offering service to city residents later this year.
Currently, Time Warner Cable (TWC) provides services in the boroughs of Staten Island, Manhattan and Queens, while TWC and Cablevision both provide video service in parts of Brooklyn. Cablevision also offers video services in the Bronx, as well as in areas outside of New York City such as Westchester County.
TWC and Cablevision have city-administered cable TV franchise agreements that were last renewed 10 years ago, but both are set to expire this fall.
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