The long wait will soon be over for Tewksbury residents eager for cable-TV competition, thanks to a unanimous Board of Selectmen vote Tuesday night (May 30) authorizing Verizon
to offer its fiber-optic-powered FiOS TV in the town.
With its more than 27,000 potential viewers, Tewksbury joins a growing number of Massachusetts communities granting Verizon cable franchises. The company offers FiOS TV in Woburn, Reading and Lynnfield, Mass., as well as other locations in New York, California, Texas, Florida, Maryland and Virginia. Last week, Verizon also was granted franchises in Wakefield, Hamilton and Wenham, Mass.
Verizon launched FiOS TV Sept. 22, 2005, in Keller, Texas, unveiling a broad collection of all-digital programming with more than 350 total channels and more on the way. Availability plans for FiOS TV in Tewksbury will be announced soon.
"We applaud the selectmen and the town manager for moving Tewksbury to the forefront of communities nationwide where consumers will be able to choose their cable provider as easily as they choose their phone company," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president for Massachusetts and Rhode Island. "Competition drives innovation, value and service quality, and it puts the consumer in control."
Verizon is currently in negotiations with more than 50 other communities in Massachusetts to obtain additional franchises. For more information on the Verizon franchise process in the state, log onto www.verizon.com/ma.
Verizon research indicates 87 percent of Massachusetts residents favor more competition and choice for video services. Independent studies have shown that competition in the video market brings enormous benefits to consumers in the form of reduced prices, better packages and improved service.
A recent study by the Phoenix Center found that just one year’s delay in franchise reform costs Commonwealth residents $165 million. Under current state law, potential competitors to the incumbent cable-TV operators must obtain video franchises in each community they seek to serve. Verizon recently filed a proposal with the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy that calls for a shorter and more certain time frame for obtaining local video franchises.
"Verizon will compete aggressively for subscribers in Tewksbury with our FiOS services, which are fueled by our lightning-fast fiber-optic network," Cupelo said.
Under the 15-year franchise agreement, Verizon can begin immediately to provide FiOS TV to Tewksbury residents. In addition, the agreement contains provisions for the network’s future growth; financial support and capacity for educational and government access channels; cable service to government buildings; and other important benefits to the town, including insurance, indemnification and enforcement protections.