Re: Verizon FiOS

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.

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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 SNET).

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."

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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.
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Neal McLain

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Neal McLain
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