Verizon does political battle for Philly FiOS

Last night at a regulatory hearing in Philadelphia, Verizon Communications said it would invest $1 billion in the city to compete with home-town favorite Comcast for TV and Internet services. City Council members like the idea of competition, but complained about how quickly it might happen and which neighborhoods would get FiOS service first.

Part of the problem seems to be hurt feelings and bruised egos. The mayor's office had quietly negotiated the proposed one-year franchise agreement over several months and unveiled it on November 13. Under a month seems to be a rush for some City Council members; there's also squabbling over which parts of the city are built out first.

Comcast is also not going to let its monopoly cable TV franchise in Philly disappear quietly and has rallied City Council patrons into a "go slow" mode. Comcast would also like more detailed plans (well, duh) on Verizon's build-out.

For its part, Verizon said it would like the franchise agreement approved this year and has warned that Philadelphia was competing with other cities for the $1 billion investment to install the fiber across the city. Verizon's party line is that cities with pay-TV competition could see $10 to $15 lower monthly bills.

Verizon's proposed agreement provides $11.3 million in grants and includes posting a $13 million performance bond. Comcast's deal with the city provides $10 million in free cable and internet services to the city and school system over 15 years.

For more:
- Philly.com covers inquisition of Verizon FiOS rollout. Post.

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