Subscribers to Verizon
's fiber-optic FiOS TV service will be able to enjoy the rich diversity of high-definition, educational and children's programming provided by PBS and the nation's local public television stations under a major agreement announced today by the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS), PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) and Verizon. The agreement ensures that Verizon will carry local public television stations' digital programming.
APTS President & CEO John Lawson said: "This agreement is a major step forward for public service media in our country. It is the culmination of hard work by APTS, PBS and Verizon to ensure that public television's content is available to consumers who choose to receive their television programming from Verizon. At a time when some in Congress question the important contribution that public television stations make to the communities they serve, Verizon's commitment to public television and to delivering high-quality programming to its growing television-customer base is significant. The agreement also recognizes the unique role that public broadcasters play in national homeland defense efforts and provides for carriage of emergency public safety information."
PBS President and CEO Paula A. Kerger said, "The digital future holds extraordinary promise for public television. As more Americans take advantage of the wonders of technology, it is crucial they have access to the trusted, valuable content that PBS and its member stations provide. Our partnership with Verizon helps ensure viewers will be able to continue watching public television. It is an important part of a broader effort to ensure PBS and its member stations remain a daily part of American life."
Kathryn C. Brown, Verizon senior vice president for public policy development and corporate responsibility, said: "This is a wonderful example of the diverse digital programming content Verizon can provide through the power of fiber-optics. Verizon is excited to add this programming, as well as public television's new offerings available through its digital multicasts, to FiOS TV subscribers in all our markets. When Congress enacts television choice legislation this year, we hope to make quality content like this available more quickly to consumers."
Under the multiyear agreement, every Verizon FiOS TV system will carry the full digital signal of up to three public television stations within the system's service area, as well as any additional noncommercial station that does not duplicate programming of another station in the market. The agreement also includes PBS and local public television stations' HDTV programming and local stations' digital multicasts.
Verizon FiOS TV is currently available in parts of California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and Texas. It delivers more than 400 all-digital channels, including two dozen high-definition channels, and access to an on-demand library of more than 2,500 titles. Verizon is opening new FiOS TV markets as it obtains franchise agreements giving it the authority to offer TV service. The House passed the COPE video choice bill (HR 5252) on June 8. Similar legislation is underway in the Senate. Both bills would reform the franchise process to enable competing providers to enter the cable television market more quickly.
FiOS TV subscribers will be able to see the next generation of public television programming to be available as part of local public television stations' digital multicast offerings such as "PBS Kids Go!," "Viva TV," "World," and "Create." These offerings target communities and interests that were underserved in the single channel world.
Verizon FiOS TV will carry all freely available digital data broadcast by participating public television stations, including public safety warning information and formal educational materials such as certain subscription-based educational data. Lawson said: "The guaranteed carriage of public safety warning information was an essential part of the agreement. This recognizes our partnership with the Department of Homeland Security and enables public television stations to reach FiOS TV subscribers with critical public alerts and warnings during times of crisis."