Verizon is committed to Baltimore

Priority for FiOS is existing franchises

April 29, 2010

For years, Verizon has been an integral part of Baltimore life — by providing services and jobs to city residents, as well as supporting numerous nonprofits. But over the past couple of months, much discussion has swirled around Verizon's decision to pause in its efforts to obtain new cable franchises nationally.

Baltimore, like other communities throughout Maryland and the United States, is understandably eager to have robust broadband options available to its residents and businesses. Unfortunately, fiction is overwhelming fact in the discussions about Verizon's FiOS video service. Indeed, some have gone as far as suggesting that Verizon is simply not committed to Baltimore. Such a suggestion is categorically untrue and contrary to Verizon's demonstrated commitment to the city. Let's look at the facts.

In 2004, when the FiOS project began, Verizon publicly committed to making service available to 18 million homes. We're making steady progress toward meeting this goal. In areas where we have cable franchises (in 16 states and the District of Columbia), Verizon's fiber-optic network now passes 15.6 million homes — including several hundred thousand homes in Maryland.

We have determined that we currently have enough cable franchises to meet our goal of 18 million homes. So, at this time, we are focusing our efforts on completing our deployment commitments and on increasing sales of FiOS Internet and FiOS TV in these areas where we have existing franchises.

For now, that means a number of communities, including Baltimore, are not targeted for video franchises. Verizon will keep in close communications with city officials in the event our FiOS plans change at some point in the future.

Although FiOS video may not be available, it's important to remember that Verizon is able to offer Baltimore consumers High Speed Internet (HSI) service (using DSL technology) at speeds up to 7 megabits per second in much of the city, and DIRECTV.

In addition, our network throughout the city provides the growth engine for hundreds of businesses, large and small.

Through our people and technology, we are a part of Baltimore in every way. We are proud of our people, who make vital contributions to this great city. With a network that is second to none, our infrastructure keeps residents and businesses communicating. And we'll continue to make that infrastructure better, faster and more robust.

Tabb Bishop

The writer is regional vice president-government affairs for Verizon Maryland-Washington, DC

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