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Choice and Competition for TV Service on the Way to More Rhode Island Consumers


PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Residents and businesses in 12 more Rhode Island communities are one step closer to having a long-awaited choice for their video services. Verizon Thursday (March 8) filed a petition with the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (DPUC) seeking a franchise to provide the communities with FiOS TV, the company’s fiber-optic-based service.

The communities are Charlestown, Cranston, Foster, Hopkinton, Johnston, Narragansett, North Providence, Providence, Richmond, Scituate, South Kingstown and Westerly. Verizon expects to be able to begin offering the service later this year to some of the 158,000 households in these communities, which constitute the state’s cable service areas 2, 3 and 8.

Verizon has already begun deploying the nation’s most advanced digital, all-fiber-optic network in these communities and is selling its FiOS high-speed Internet service in Coventry, East Greenwich, Narragansett, North Kingstown, Warwick and parts of Providence.

The company is also in the process of obtaining state approval to offer TV service this spring in service area 6, which includes Coventry, East Greenwich, Exeter, North Kingstown, Warwick, West Greenwich and West Warwick.

In Massachusetts, FiOS TV is available in 37 communities.

Rhode Island is the home for a Verizon Fiber Solutions Center, which provides customer care and technical support for FiOS services throughout New England, creating some 300 new jobs in the state. Over the past 10 years, Verizon has invested more than $700 million in Rhode Island’s infrastructure.

“Verizon presented a strong, fair franchise proposal that paves the way for more competition in one of the nation’s most technology-rich markets,” said Donna Cupelo, Verizon Rhode Island region president. “We are looking forward to prompt consideration of the petition by the DPUC, as a Verizon franchise will give residents and businesses a superior choice for video services.”

Bill McGowan, business manager for Local 2323 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), said: “The members of Local 2323, who have a long history of providing quality service, are very excited about the opportunity of offering the most sophisticated video, data and voice network to Rhode Island consumers. This is not only good for consumers, but for our membership. Verizon is adding new union jobs as the result of this multiyear investment of bringing fiber directly to homes and businesses.”

FiOS TV is designed to be a formidable competitor to cable and satellite. Verizon is providing FiOS services on its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network. Only this network has earned the certification of the independent Fiber to the Home Council for providing fiber all the way to customers’ homes.

Fiber delivers amazingly sharp pictures and sound, and has the capacity to transmit a wide array of high-definition programming that is so clear and intense it seems to leap from the TV screen. It also delivers Internet download speeds of up to 50 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps as well as high-quality voice services.

“This is not cable TV. This is not satellite. This is FiOS TV,” said Cupelo. “Customers who liked what FiOS did for their Internet connection will love what it does for their TV. We’ve harnessed the speed and capacity of broadband with the power of broadcast to create a revolutionary, new entertainment experience.”

Verizon is providing FiOS TV service in California, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

Service highlights in these other states include:

-A broad collection of all-digital programming and compelling consumer choice - with more than 400 total channels and more on the way.

-A lead offer with more than 200 digital video and music channels, for $37.99 a month with Verizon FiOS Internet Service or a qualifying voice product or $42.99 as a stand-alone service.

-Two dozen high-definition channels, with extraordinary clarity and theater-quality sound.

-A library of 8,600 On Demand titles, 60 percent of which are free.

-Channels grouped by genres such as entertainment, sports, news, shopping, movies and family, making it easy for audiences to find their favorite programming.

-An easy-to-use interactive programming guide that integrates HD programming, On Demand content and the digital video recorder along with broadcast television into a seamless user experience.

-The option of Home Media DVR, which allows the family to use one DVR to access recorded programming from multiple rooms in the house. Customers can also access photos and music on their PCs and play them on their TV.

-FiOS TV Widgets, a free interactive feature that provides local weather and traffic information.
Programming choices for Hispanic, African-American, Asian, Russian and other multicultural audiences are available in every market. Because FiOS TV has so much capacity, it is an outlet for emerging and independent networks to showcase their diverse programming.

Verizon currently is constructing fiber-to-the premises (FTTP) networks in more than half the states where it offers landline communications services


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