Cable TV options coming to Spotsy (1 Viewer)

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riffjim4069

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Apr 7, 2004
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The Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors may usher in a new era of cable TV competition in the county tonight.

It's likely to approve a franchise for Verizon's FiOS-TV service at a public hearing.

The county's Cable TV & Telecommunications Commission voted unanimously to recommend approving the franchise with a few conditions. Those have now been worked out, according to Brian Scott, Spotsylvania's information technology representative.

Up to this point, Cox Communications and Adelphia Cable, the latter recently bought out by Comcast Cable, had carved up the county and there was no real competition, except from satellite TV services.

Verizon is expected to challenge both companies in a battle for customers for cable TV, Internet and telephone service in Spotsylvania.

Scott said the initial FiOS-TV service area will include the Lee's Hill exchange area in the northeastern part of the county and the Brokenburg-Livingston area in the south-central part.

Part of the Brokenburg area has not had cable TV and high-speed Internet access--and covering that area was a concession made by Verizon during negotiations, Scott said.

According to the agreement, within four years, Verizon must serve 65 percent of the initial service area that has 30 homes per strand mile, he said. For Cox and Comcast/Adelphia, the existing threshold is 18 homes per strand mile.

The Verizon service area is expected to expand over time.

Scott said county staff is happy with the negotiated agreement, but final approval is up to the supervisors.

A new state law intended to increase competition has made the outcome of tonight's hearing moot, because Verizon can go forward without county approval. But Scott said Verizon "wants to be a good neighbor."

The Lee Hill area of Spotsylvania will be the first to receive FiOS service, and that's expected to be delivered "soon" if the board approves the franchise agreement, Verizon spokesman Harry Mitchell said. But he declined to set a timeline.

He also declined to say whether the company plans to move into Stafford County and other Fredericksburg-area localities.

Even though the vote is only a formality in terms of approval, Spotsylvania officials have said they've been able to use the company's desire for goodwill for negotiating leverage. One such agreement precluded "cherry picking" only high-density, affluent areas and guaranteed service to the Brokenburg area.

Verizon's Mitchell predicted that Spotsylvania cable customers will see their bills shrink, adding that county residents "have not been provided competition for a long time."

"You'll see prices down markedly, and you'll see companies get inventive with bundling of voice service and video service and pricing," he said.

Mitchell pointed to a study with results indicating that when Verizon introduced its FiOS service in such areas as Northern Virginia, Florida and Texas, prices dropped an average of more than 20 percent.

He said part of such cost savings have been the result of increased leverage for consumers who can call their cable company and negotiate better deals. In other areas where FiOS has been introduced, the biggest savings seem to have come from bundling phone, Internet and TV service and from customer haggling based on new competition.

Alex Horwitz, a spokesman for Cox in Northern Virginia, questioned the savings numbers that are being tossed around.

"We welcome competition," Horwitz said. "We've been competing for years. We're competing with Verizon right now in Fairfax County and we'll compete with them in Fredericksburg.

"I know we're not going to get into a price war. But we are going to continue adding new products and services to meet customers' needs.

"We think we're in a great position and Verizon is trying to catch us," Horwitz added.

Lisa Altman, a spokeswoman for Comcast/Adelphia in suburban Maryland, said customers can expect big improvements from her company in the coming six to nine months. Comcast acquired Adelphia only this summer.

"Comcast has been competing for years in the markets we serve," she said. "We continue to add value for our customers through speed increases, new video content and popular calling features."

Expected spin-off effects include increased availability of broadband Web access and competitive pricing for Internet service, especially when bundled with TV and phone service.

Verizon launched the FiOS-TV service in Keller, Texas, last year. It now serves more than 80 communities in North Texas, California, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York.

FiOS is an abbreviation for Fiber Optic Service. FiOS-TV is the only service currently offering fiber-optic all the way up to homes. Other services are fiber-optic to hubs, then use slower copper wiring to houses.

The New York Times reported late last month that Verizon plans to spend $23 billion on its fiber-optic network by 2010. Within four years, about 18 million households, more than half the households in Verizon's territory, will have access to the network, which provides phone, broadband and television on one fiber-optic cable, the Times reported.

Telecoms like Verizon are spending such large sums on "bundling" (also referred to as media convergence) capabilities in an attempt to prevent cable TV companies from cutting into their land-line telephone profits.

The news magazine The Economist predicted last week that such aggressive telecom tactics will provide "greater choice and lower prices."
 
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riffjim4069

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Apr 7, 2004
35,194
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SatelliteGuystonfieldville, U.S.A.
Update: I just returned from the Public Hearing. Tonight the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in favor to approve the Verizon FiOS Cable Franchise, 6-0. Spotsylvania is the first locality to grant a cable franchise under the new cable franchise reform laws that went into effect on July 1st.

Choice is good!!!:)
 

delance7

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 9, 2003
59
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VA
Have you heard anything about Fios in Stafford.
As of this moment I have heard nothing.
Any info you might have will be appreciated.
Thanks
 

riffjim4069

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Apr 7, 2004
35,194
279
SatelliteGuystonfieldville, U.S.A.
Have you heard anything about Fios in Stafford.
As of this moment I have heard nothing.
Any info you might have will be appreciated.
Thanks
According to the article above, "The Lee Hill area of Spotsylvania will be the first to receive FiOS service, and that's expected to be delivered "soon" if the board approves the franchise agreement, Verizon spokesman Harry Mitchell said. But he declined to set a timeline.

He also declined to say whether the company plans to move into Stafford County and other Fredericksburg-area localities."

Sorry, but there doesn't appear to be much happening in Stafford. Do you know if FiOS Internet is offered anywhere in Stafford?
 
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delance7

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 9, 2003
59
4
VA
I am not sure, I do know that it is in Quantico not too far from me. I will do some checking and see if it is. A few weeks ago I notice that they were laying orange
tubing up from Prince William into Stafford. I am not sure what they were laying, I hope it was something good. It is sad that Stafford has not made any moves on this.
 
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