Verizon Gets Closer in Va., Md.

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Counties in Virginia and Maryland have taken formal steps toward franchise approval for Verizon Communications Inc.

Verizon has submitted its franchise proposal to Fairfax County, Va. -- a move that could lead to an area cable franchise by early fall.

According to the county procedure, the franchise package must be approved for publication, and then be subjected to a public hearing before it can be approved by the board of supervisors. The publication is scheduled for a vote Aug. 1, with a possible public hearing date of Sept. 26.

The cable incumbents in Fairfax County include Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications Inc. Earlier this month, a Verizon cable franchise was approved by Herndon, Va., and the telco has negotiated an agreement to serve the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va.

In Maryland, the Howard County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Thursday to give its county executive 90 days to negotiate an agreement with the telephone company. Howard County is in the Baltimore metropolitan area, and it is currently served by Comcast.

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