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Rockville, Md., Consumers to See More Choice, Competition as City Council Awards Cable Franchise to Verizon


Franchise Covers 23,000 Households; Company to Begin Building All-Fiber-Optic Network in City This Fall; Expects to Offer FiOS TV Later This Year

ROCKVILLE, Md. - Rockville consumers are a major step closer to having an innovative, reliable and competitive alternative for their cable television services, thanks to a unanimous vote by the City Council Monday evening (July 28) authorizing Verizon to offer its fiber-optic-powered FiOS TV.

FiOS TV offers consumers a broad range of programming choices and superior picture quality from the only TV service delivered over the nation’s most advanced all-fiber network directly connecting to millions of individual homes and businesses.

Rockville, which covers approximately 23,000 households, joins numerous other Montgomery County, Md., communities in adopting the 15-year franchise agreement the county awarded Verizon in December 2006.

Verizon expects to begin construction on its all-fiber network this fall and will make the service available to city households and businesses within two years. The company plans to begin offering FiOS TV and FiOS Internet services in Rockville later this year.

“It’s clear from the tremendous demand for FiOS TV in Montgomery County and elsewhere that consumers want choice and competition for their TV service,” said William R. Roberts, Verizon’s regional president for Maryland and Washington, D.C. "We have heard from many Rockville residents that they’re ready for a choice, and we aim to provide it.

“FiOS TV offers a clear, superior alternative to the incumbent cable provider - powered by our lightning-fast fiber-optic network,” Roberts said. “We’re eager to get to work in Rockville.”

FiOS TV Service Highlights

FiOS TV service highlights include:

* More than 400 all-digital channels grouped by genres such as entertainment, sports, news, shopping, movies and family, making it easy for audiences to find their favorite programming.

* A total of 30 high-definition channels in the Washington-area market, with extraordinary clarity and theater-quality sound. The company will add approximately 25 more HD channels in the near future, and plans to expand its lineup to offer all available major HD programming by year-end.

* An industry-leading library of more than 10,000 video-on-demand (VOD) titles each month, 70 percent of which are free. In addition, an increasing number of on-demand titles in high-definition, with 1,000 HD VOD titles per month by the end of the year.

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

* Set-top boxes ranging from a standard-definition box for $5.99 per month to the Home Media DVR, featuring a multi-room DVR that enables up to three simultaneous viewings of recorded programs without requiring customers to set up a complex home network or buy extra equipment. The recorder is bundled with Media Manager, a new feature that lets customers easily access photos and music from their personal computer and play them on their entertainment center where they look and sound the best. A standard definition Home Media DVR is $17.99 per month.

* 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, making FiOS TV an outlet for emerging and independent networks to showcase their diverse programming.

Sports fans subscribing to FiOS TV Premier in the Washington market also will receive a host of sports channels - including Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN and MASN 2), several ESPN channels and the NFL Network - at no extra charge.

FiOS TV is delivered over Verizon’s all-fiber-optic network, which brings the power and capacity of fiber optics directly into people’s homes and has industry-leading quality and reliability. To date, Verizon has placed more than 57 million feet of fiber in its Maryland service territory.

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 20 Mbps, as well as high-quality voice services.

FiOS Internet Highlights

Verizon’s 50/20 FiOS Internet connection is the fastest available to U.S. consumers, and the company’s 20/20 symmetrical service is the first of its kind commercially available to U.S. consumers on a mass scale. Pioneering a new category of broadband for the American consumer, Verizon’s symmetrical FiOS provides the ultra-fast, two-way speeds crucial for such burgeoning online activities as video conferencing, social networking and super-fast uploading of electronic photo albums or home videos, as well as multi-player gaming and online work collaboration.

At 50 Mbps, downloading a 5 GB (gigabyte) file, such as a 112-minute, high-definition movie purchased online, takes approximately 13.3 minutes, while a 50 MB (megabyte), or 60-minute, Web video takes 8 seconds, and a 5 MB MP3 music file takes less than eight-tenths of a second.

Using a 20 Mbps upstream broadband connection, a consumer could upload a 250 megabyte (MB) file of 200 photos in about 90 seconds, instead of the roughly 47 minutes it takes over a 768 kilobit-per-second (Kbps) upstream connection. A 500 MB file, such as 400 digital photos or a medical-imaging data file, could upload in less than four minutes, compared with about 90 minutes over a 768 Kbps connection. A 3 gigabyte (GB) file, such as a one-hour family video shot with a high-definition video camera, can be uploaded in around 20 minutes, compared with more than nine hours with 768 Kbps upstream.

FiOS Internet 50/20 Mbps service is available for $139.95 a month with an annual service plan. The 20/20 Mbps FiOS Internet service is available for $64.99 a month with an annual service plan. FiOS Internet service also is available as part of a discounted bundle of multiple Verizon services.

Rockville consumers can check online at for more information or to request that Verizon contact them when FiOS services become available. Customers also can call their local Verizon sales office or 888-GET FiOS (888-438-3467).

In addition to Maryland, Verizon currently provides FiOS TV in parts of California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia.

At the end of the first quarter 2008, 1.8 million Verizon customers received their broadband service over Verizon’s all-fiber network, and more than 1.2 million customers had subscribed to FiOS TV.


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