This is a big deal folks. Look what I just read in my inbox (it actually arrived yesterday):
Tomorrow the New York City Franchise and Review Commission (FCRC) will hold a public hearing regarding Verizon’s entrance into the New York City Cable Television market. On April 29, 2008 Deputy Mayor Lieber and Commissioner Cosgrave of the Department of Information and Technologies (DoITT) announced an agreement with Verizon to offer cable service throughout the City of New York. Currently, an overwhelming majority of New York City residents have only a single choice in cable television providers. If approved, the agreement would require Verizon to offer cable service to all residences in New York City, potentially establishing a competitive marketplace in an industry that has been dominated by single providers and a lack of competition since its creation. We encourage you to attend tomorrow’s public hearing taking place at NYC College of Technology, 285 Jay Street, Brooklyn, NY. The hearing begins at 3:00pm and is anticipated to run until at least 6:00pm. As with all public hearings, feel free to attend and testify regarding your concerns.
I’m no fan of Verizon the company, but I think the FiOS product is a good one, and the rigor of a full cable franchise agreement would hold Verizon to the same standard as today’s cable providers in NYC (Time Warner, RCN and Cablevision). This would force Verizon to serve all NYC neighborhoods, not just the more lucrative ones, and would ostensibly also compel them to provide public access programming carriage.
I’d love to have the better HD picture and faster broadband speeds that FiOS provides. Perhaps more importantly, I’d love to see Time Warner Cable match those offerings, thus allowing me to stay with them.
I imagine a full city-wide franchise will anger Time Warner and Cablevision, who now serve mutually exclusive territory (Cablevision in the Bronx and Southern/Eastern Brooklyn; Time Warner everywhere else) because the previous franchise areas and awards prevented them from wiring the whole city. And they’d have a valid point. Let’s see what happens. Maybe they’ll each get the opportunity to serve a city-wide area as well. More competition. Something the cable industry needs.