TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Massapequa Park Residents Back Verizon Cable Franchise Agreement

Massapequa Park Residents Back Verizon Cable Franchise Agreement

Keiko Morris (
Wed, 14 Sep 2005 14:55:29 -0500

BY Keiko Morris, Staff Writer

Massapequa Park residents turned out in force last night to give a
thumbs up to Verizon Communications' proposed request for a cable
service franchise license, expressing the sentiment that competition is

"I think competition is excellent," John O'Brien, a former Massapequa
Park trustee and a resident for more than 50 years, told trustees at a
public hearing. "Living in the town of Oyster Bay with Teddy Roosevelt
as a founder of this community, he broke up monopolies when he was
president, and this is just a continuation of that."

Village trustees are considering a license for Verizon's new FiOS
TV service -- an action that would make Massapequa Park the first
municipality in the state to grant the company a base to launch its
service. They took no action last night and set a second hearing for
Sept. 26.

Cablevision Systems Corp. attorneys said they were at last night's
meeting not to oppose competition, but because the proposed agreement
had "deficiencies" that could give Verizon an advantage.

Michael Olsen, vice president of legal and regulatory affairs for
Cablevision, said the wording in the agreement would eliminate some of
the village's authority over right of way. "The question is not
whether competition will be good," he said, "but whether it will be

Village Mayor James Altadonna Jr. has received many letters from
constituents in support of the Verizon franchise, village
administrator Peggy Caltabiano said before the hearing.

"The mayor is looking for his residents to have a choice and he feels
that by offering Verizon he will give them a choice," Caltabiano
said. "He will increase customer service and introduce competition in
the cable market."

She added, "As much as he [the mayor] wants to offer competition, we
also have to be very careful that both franchise agreements are
negotiated on ... a level playing field."

The Verizon agreement, like Cablevision's, would run for 10 years.
Verizon has been pushing for legislation that would allow it to get
statewide franchise licenses to offer the FiOS TV cable services; so
far, they have only succeeded in Texas. Verizon has received local
franchise licenses in 10 communities in California, Texas, Virginia and

Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.

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