Soon Comcast will have a competitor enter yet another one of its flagship markets, as Verizon has just won a cable franchise agreement to offer its FiOS TV service in Pittsburgh. Under the terms of the franchise agreement, Verizon will offer its fiber-based video service to more than 160,000 homes in Pittsburgh within six years of the award of the cable franchise. Verizon also will have to pay franchise fees that will be equal to 5 percent of gross TV service revenues. Comcast has a similar agreement with the city.
Comcast currently offers its service to 850,000 customers, but its 10-year franchise agreement will expire at the end of 2009. Verizon has continued to gain ground in Comcast cable territories. The telco struck a coup earlier this year when it was awarded a 15-year TV franchise agreement in Comcast's Philadelphia hometown market. Verizon faced obvious hurdles late last year in Philadelphia when it appeared that the city council and Comcast allegedly were delaying the approval of its franchise application. Already, the competitive gloves are coming off as Verizon says it will offer 600 channels in the Steel City, including more than 120 HD channels, a figure Verizon says surpasses Comcast's current video offerings.
Of course, customers have to be eligible to get FiOS. But for those subscribers that are eligible for Verizon's FiOS TV, the service is competitively priced at $79.99 for the first six months. What's more, Verizon will offer a $150 rebate to anyone that signs up for the service by December 19.
- CED has this article
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