Verizon Gets Statewide Franchise in Calif.

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Verizon Communications became the first state franchise holder in California.

The state Public Utilities Commission acted on the telco’s applications just five working days after establishing its rules for regulating statewide applications.

Under the state's Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act, the PUC has 30 days to rule that a franchise application is complete, and another 14 days after that to issue a franchise.

The application lists 45 cities in Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino and Riverside counties where Verizon intends to deploy video services. These are the communities where the telco has the heaviest deployment of its FiOS high-speed-Internet plant.

Verizon West Coast president Tim McCallion called the rapid approval a "huge victory for consumers."

Verizon was the first and, so far, only applicant for a state cable franchise. Incumbent cable operators are not allowed to file to the state until next year under the PUC rules.

Verizon will announce later this month which of the 45 communities will be the first under the state franchise to be offered video services. The company already delivers video in a handful of California communities under local franchises that were negotiated before the state law was passed.

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