TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Verizon FiOS

Re: Verizon FiOS

Neal McLain (
Mon, 16 May 2005 22:34:42 -0500

William Cousert <> wrote:

> I have a few questions about Verizon's new FiOS service.
> It was recently installed in my neighborhood and I'm
> thinking about switching over from Comcast.

A resident of Keller, Texas (screename "ELENgin"), who currently has
FiOS, posted a report about it on Broadband Reports on 08-25-04,
precipitating a thread that now runs 25 pages. Many of the posts in
this thread address questions similar to yours. ELENgin seems to have
been quite happy to answer all sorts of questions, so perhaps s/he
would be able to respond to yours.

As to your question 5:

> 5. Will they offer cable tv services? I'd like to dump
> Comcast completely. Will they have video on demand?

Verizon will definitely offer video services, and they're currently
negotiating with program suppliers. But they probably won't call it
"cable TV" since they're doing everything they can to convince the
feds that their video service won't actually be cable TV; it will just
be "competitive to cable TV."

Their big problem is legal: telephone companies are regulated under
Title II of the Communications Act; Cable TV companies are regulated
under Title VI. Under that Act, Cable TV companies must obtain a
franchise from the "local franchising authority." Typically, the LFA
is a municipal or county government, although in some cases, it's a
separate legal entity operating under an interlocal agreement among
two or more local governments. Or it might be a state government
(case in point: Connecticut's now-defunct statewide franchise to

Verizon does not want to go through the hassle of getting a local
franchise from every LFA in its territory (and having spent a lot of
time in my cable-TV career dealing with LFAs, I certainly understand
with their position). So they want Congress to "adopt a national
policy that preempts other levels of government."

How much success they'll have remains to be seen. The entrenched
entities (LFAs; National League of Cities; National Association of
Counties; National Association of Telecommunications Officers and
Advisors) will fight it tooth-and-nail. And, as I noted in a previous
post on this subject, you can rest assured that the cable industry
will oppose it too unless it gets similar relief.

Neal McLain

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