Florida Approves Verizon Statewide Franchise

The Florida Department of State approved Verizon Communications’ application for a state-issued cable franchise, opening the way for the telco to offer FiOS TV service in the Tampa, Fla., area.

The telco filed a franchise application with the state July 2 to be able to offer FiOS TV service to 77,000 more households in the cities of Tarpon Springs and Sarasota, as well as portions of Pinellas County. Verizon now has franchises for 19 communities in Florida.

In the Tampa area, Verizon will compete with Bright House Networks in Tarpon Springs, with Comcast in Sarasota and with Bright House and Knology in parts of Pinellas County.

Verizon’s application was made under the state’s franchise-reform law allowing new competitors to apply for statewide franchising. The law includes a provision allowing providers to expand video service into other calling areas by filing an amendment within five days of providing initial service in the area.

"In just nine days, we were able to gain the legal status to open up competition and choice to 77,000 households -- a process that would have taken one year or more otherwise,” Verizon Southeast region president Alan Ciamporcero said in a prepared statement. "We are both encouraged and excited by today's decision and look forward to expanding our fiber services to more customers in even more of our region in the months and years ahead."

In other FiOS TV news, the City Council of Fredericksburg, Va., approved a franchise for the telco’s video service in a Tuesday-night vote. Verizon will take on Comcast in the franchise area, which covers approximately 9,000 households in the city.

And the Board of Trustees for Scarsdale, N.Y., granted Verizon a video franchise, bringing the telco’s total number of franchises for New York communities to 46. Comcast is the incumbent cable operator in Scarsdale.