Texas City OKs Verizon Cable Franchise

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In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the City Council of Keller, Texas, approved a cable franchise for Verizon Communications, the company’s fifth overall.

The telco has also begun marketing its fiber-based broadband offering to a pair of mid-Atlantic markets.

The approval in Keller, following two required readings -- the first Jan. 18 and the second Feb. 1 -- will open the path to testing of equipment for Verizon’s fiber-based video network there “very soon,” according to company spokesman Bill Kula.

In turn, Keller -- which is home to incumbents Charter Communications Inc. and facilities-based company One Source Communications -- is expected to become one of the first areas that will be home to a test of Verizon’s fiber-based video package, “FiOS TV,” with commercial deployment expected during the second half of the year, Kula said.

Last year, the telco earned video-delivery authority in Beaumont, Calif. (Nov. 1), and Sachse, Texas (Dec. 6). Last month, franchises were approved in Westlake, Texas, a town of fewer than 10,000 residents east of Dallas, and Wylie, Texas, a 30,000-population town near Keller.

The franchise agreement in Keller, population 33,000, is notable because it is the location where Verizon chose to announce plans to build fiber-to-the-premises architecture to deliver bundled broadband services. Kula said the plant now passes 16,000 homes in the community in the Dallas suburbs.

The telco began marketing its initial broadband offerings -- including 5-megabit-per-second to 30-mbps high-speed-data service -- under the FiOS banner last August. To date, 20% of its local phone customers have signed up for the new data service, Kula said.

Kula added that the FiOS data piece is currently being sold in parts of Texas, Florida, California and Virginia. Verizon began marketing the service in Falls Church, Va., and Wheaton, Md., earlier this week.

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