Update on Verizon FIOS Cable Television

UPDATE ON VERIZON FIOS CABLE TELEVISION

Many residents have contacted the Supervisor's office inquiring about when Verizon FIOS cable television and Internet services will be available in the Town.

FIOS Internet service is a telecommunications service and as such is not regulated by the Town.  Some residents are currently able to subscribe to Verizon FIOS now.  Where and when the service is made available elsewhere in Town is solely at the discretion of Verizon.

Cable television service, however, is regulated by the New York State Public Service Commission. In order to make cable television service available in Lewisboro, Verizon must enter into a franchise agreement with the Town and then complete a build-out of the service.

Negotiations for a cable franchise agreement between Verizon and the Town were held in 2009.  They ended with the Town awaiting details from Verizon on how the latter planned to support public access television (PEG), including government, community and school programming on its system. 

Our attempts to complete negotiations were rebuffed as Verizon was awaiting the outcome of a dispute with the town of Harrison relating to Verizon's obligation to support PEG programming.  That proceeding ended earlier this year with a decision that was favorable to Harrison.

With the meaning of the regulations now settled, I had hoped to bring Verizon back to the Town to complete negotiations. However, we were recently informed by Verizon officials that they have suspended the negotiation of new franchise agreements throughout the State at this time.

Verizon's decision not to move forward with its application for a franchise agreement is a financial one made at the corporate level. We were advised by their government affairs office that currently Verizon has paused all new franchise agreement applications in New York State and is concentrating the Company's resources towards building out service in communities with existing agreements.

We are committed to bringing the most choice possible and competitive pricing to Lewisboro consumers.  While Town residents do receive the benefit of the competition between Cablevision and Verizon elsewhere in the State because the rates are set in Albany, we realize that with more competition comes better "special deals" and more responsive service. We will closely monitor this situation with the hope of bringing Verizon back to the negotiating table as soon as they are willing and able.

Dean Travalino
Chairman
Cable Television Advisory Committee