Let the Games Begin, Verizon Takes on Cablevision

Where Cablevision and two independently owned satellite systems once had a near exclusive grip on the area’s television delivery system, Verizon has decided to not only continue competing for communication dollars with its ongoing phone and internet systems, but will now also compete for television service to local homes as well.

imagesAccording to recent Verizon press information, the company will be using a new technology known as "fiber to the premises (FTTP)." The company went on to say that while fiber-optic technology is common throughout the telecom industry, "Verizon is the first company to use fiber to directly connect homes and businesses on a widespread scale." Verizon’s information continues, "fiber-optics will provide voice, data and video signals at speeds far exceeding current copper wiring systems." The net effect of such a system will be to provide increasingly sharp pictures and sound with increasingly higher speeds for internet uses.

As one can imagine, with competition for customers increasing, Cablevision’s Director of Media Relations, William Powers, had this to say on behalf of its own service: "Cablevision customers receive the best TV (including fiber optic) service, the finest internet access and the most reliable voice products on the market. We’ve been very successful in a highly competitive marketplace."

What is most encouraging about this new possibility for TV service competition is a report from the FCC in February of this year that indicated that "cable rates increased less in places where cable operators faced effective competition." In order to enter into competition for private home or business customers, a company must gain village by village approvals before it can start its business in a given area. Verizon now says that it has already gained franchises in 14 New York towns or villages. Eight are on Long Island and include Mineola, Massapequa Park, Cedarhurst, Laurel Hollow, Lynbrook, East Rockaway, the Town of Hempstead and the Town of Oyster Bay. Five approvals are from the villages of Clarkstown, Grandview-on-Hudson, Nyack, South Nyack and Upper Nyack, and last week, the company announced that Greenburgh was the first Westchester community to give approval. Verizon intends to build its system throughout the country and to that task has hired 5000 new employees, opening call centers in Providence, RI; Dallas, TX; Hampton, VA; Thousand Oaks, CA and Dewitt, NY. Currently, the company has nearly 6 million subscribers in l6 states across the country.

A special meeting at Tarrytown Village Hall was held on September 28, enabling the public to hear more from Verizon personnel about how the new plan relates to Tarrytown public channels and to the requirements of the individual customer. Once the Village Trustees sign off on this new agreement, it will be sent to the NY State Public Service Commission for review and approval. There was an additional public session on October 4 and the Village is expected to complete the final agreement by the end of the month.

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About the Author: Arnold Thiesfeldt