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FiOS Adds Fla., Calif. Franchises

7/13/2006 5:09 AM Eastern

Verizon Communications’ Verizon FiOS TV franchise train keeps moving along in Florida and California.

In the Sunshine State, the regional Bell operating company added Sarasota County following county commissioners’ approval of a 15-year franchise for FiOS TV earlier this week, making it the ninth Florida market for the fiber-to-the-home-based service to date.

And in the Golden State, the City Council of Camarillo approved a video franchise for the telco, allowing it to serve the 24,000-household community in Ventura County.

In Sarasota, the franchise will extend service to 246,000 potential customers in the unincorporated parts of the county, excluding the cities of Sarasota, Longboat Key, Venice and North Port. Comcast also offers cable-TV service there.

Verizon will begin offering FiOS TV service in the north part of the county soon, with plans to extend that to cover the entire county within five years.

Under the franchise agreement, Verizon will provide two public-access channels initially and expand that to as many as six in the future. It will support the channels by kicking in 53 cents per subscriber for the first three years of service, raising that to as much as $1.50 per subscriber afterward.

Verizon also will provide cable service to more than 85 schools and governments at no cost.

With Sarasota County, FiOS TV franchises cover more than 1.8 million customers in Florida and, as of the first quarter, the company said it is averaging a 10% penetration rate in the Sunshine State markets it serves.

As for California, Verizon already offers FiOS TV in Beaumont and Murrieta, and it plans to launch the service later this year in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Apple Valley, Lake Elsinore and Temecula.

September