Public Hearing Set for Sept. 26 on Proposed Verizon Cable Franchise Agreement


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
703-324-3187, TTY 711, FAX 703-324-2010

Aug. 1, 2005

 

Public Hearing Set for Sept. 26 on
Proposed Verizon Cable Franchise Agreement

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors today authorized county staff to schedule and advertise a public hearing regarding a proposed 15-year franchise agreement with Verizon Virginia Inc. to provide cable service to Fairfax County residents. The hearing will be held on Sept. 26 at 4 p.m. in the Government Center Board Auditorium, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax. The board also will hold a public work session on Sept. 19 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 232 of the Government Center.

Federal law requires cable companies to obtain a cable franchise from local authorities before providing cable service in a locality. Fairfax County currently has cable franchise agreements with Cox Communications of Northern Virginia, which serves the majority of the county, and with Comcast of Virginia, which provides service to residents in Reston. Verizon has applied to provide cable service in all areas of the county.

“This is progress,” said Gerald E. Connolly, Board of Supervisors chairman. “Competition in this industry is a good thing.”

If the proposal is approved, Verizon would begin providing service to some areas by late 2005, and it would be required to offer service by 2012 to the same percentage of homes in the county that is served by Cox and Comcast. Verizon is already in the process of installing a new fiber optic cabling network, as authorized by the state, to replace its copper wire telephone network. The new fiber optic network has the bandwidth capability for video services, as well as voice and Internet services.

The Board of Supervisors revised its Communications Ordinance in 2001 to attract competition to the cable television market in the county. The proposed Verizon franchise agreement is consistent with the county’s agreements with Cox and Comcast to maintain a level playing field among the competing cable providers, as required by state law. This includes a commitment to provide cable service throughout the franchise area; a term of 15 years; customer service standards; provision for public, educational and government channels; and franchise fee payments to the county.

Residents interested in speaking at the public hearing should contact the Office of the Clerk to the Board of Supervisors at 703-324-3151, TTY 703-324-3903 or ClerktotheBOS@fairfaxcounty.gov.

For more information, view Verizon’s application for a cable television franchise, the proposed franchise agreement and more online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cable, or contact the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3175, TTY 711. The documents will also be available for review at public library branches throughout the county.

Fairfax County is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in all county programs, services and activities and will provide reasonable accommodations upon request. To request special accommodations, call 703-324-3187, TTY 711. Please allow five working days in advance of events in order to make the necessary arrangements.

 


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