SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 20, 2010

Verizon FiOS not coming to Beverly's TVs

BEVERLY — If you've been intrigued by those Verizon FiOS commercials and are wondering if the service will come to Beverly, it looks like the answer is no.

A spokesman for the company said Verizon has no plans to bid to become the city's cable television provider when Beverly's contract with Comcast expires in 2011.

Spokesman Phil Santoro said Verizon is concentrating on building out its network in the 105 Massachusetts cities and towns where it already provides service and has no plans to expand into other communities, including Beverly.

"We want to be in as many places as we can, but of course we can't be everywhere at the same time," Santoro said.

"We've just about completed our $23 billion build-out of our new fiber network in 14 states, including Massachusetts. That's a huge undertaking. Now we're at the point where we need to focus on completing all the communities where we've already been awarded cable franchises."

Comcast (formerly AT&T) has been the city's cable TV provider since 2001, when it signed a 10-year contract with the city. That contract is set to expire in the fall of 2011, and the city's Cable TV Advisory Commission is preparing to negotiate a new deal.

Under the terms of the current contract, Comcast pays $178,000 per year to fund the BevCam public access television studio. Comcast charges a fee to customers, based on a percentage of their cable bill, to help pay that cost.

Comcast also installed a fiber optic network linking several schools and municipal buildings for the transmission of video, voice and data.

Dan Murphy, chairman of the Cable TV Advisory Commission, said several people have asked why Verizon FiOS is not available. He said some people blame Mayor Bill Scanlon, who has the final say on awarding the contract, for its absence.

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