Verizon Snags Texas Cable Franchise

Verizon Communications has obtained another cable franchise, this time in the Dallas suburb of Sachse, Texas.

Like its first deal, in Beaumont, Calif., the Sachse franchise covers the entire town, with a population of 15,000.

Verizon has agreed to pay the city a 5% franchise fee and abide by public, educational and government access requirements similar to those imposed on the incumbent cable provider, Comcast Corp., according to Sachse city manager Bill Atkinson.

The city executive said he hoped Verizon and Comcast would work together to interconnect content and develop unified channel placement for PEG channels.

Comcast protested one element of the 15-year franchise, Atkinson said: The incumbent argued that Verizon's equipment in the public right-of-way will allow the telco to avoid franchise fees on some interactive services.

Atkinson said that equipment is deployed as part of the company's telephone operation and it is covered under federal telephony rules, so it is not subject to local regulation.

Verizon is in talks with other communities regarding possible franchises, but the company said it does not anticipate any being granted by year-end.