Verizon Negotiates Tentative Franchise Agreement In Washington, D.C.


Verizon Communications Inc. and the District of Columbia Office of Cable Television have negotiated a tentative franchise which is now headed to the District's Council. 

Elsewhere, the telco has reached an agreement on a franchise template for the Portland, Ore. suburbs. 

In both DC and the Portland areas, Verizon will compete with Comcast Corp.

The DC regulators and the company have been negotiating operating terms for 10 months. According to Verizon, the franchise commits to nine public, educational and government channels, with the possibility of adding five more; support for those channels in the form of a three percent fee on gross revenues, and an "extensive and appropriate set of customer service provisions."

The franchise still needs the approval of the council, a vote that should take place before the end of the year. If approved, Verizon anticipates launching FiOS video services within a year. Within three years, the company should offers service to all residences in the northwest and southeast quadrants of the District.

Across the country, the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission has adopted a recommended franchising agreement for its member cities, which include Gresham, Troutdale, Fairview and Wood Village, as well as unincorporated parts of east Multnomah County.

The template calls for a 10-year franchise. Verizon would be committed to building its service out to a "significant number" of dwelling units in the first year of operation and would build to all residences within three years. As long as there are 20 residences per mile, Verizon would have to build out to serve them, according to the document.

Verizon would activate eight PEG channels, plus one for the local municipality, and reserve capacity to offer seven more in the future. The company must also comply with local customer service standards.

This template must still be approved by the municipalities that participate in the MHCRC.