| Tuesday, 08 September 2009 19:13
Although Verizon is breaking off contract talks in other communities around Massachusetts, Duxbury is still scheduled to get FiOS Internet service, according to the chairman of the Duxbury Cable Advisory Committee.
The issue had been a hot topic around town in recent months as negotiations with Comcast over a new cable contract have dragged on. Having FiOS cable TV and Internet would give Duxbury residents an option.
Bill Kearney, chairman of the Cable Advisory Committee, said that Verizon had indeed gone through a list of communities where they were scheduled to install the fiber optic cables necessary to bring in the service. Despite the fact that the company is still in negotiations with Verizon, Duxbury was not cut, Kearney said.
Although the town does not have an agreement yet with Verizon, Kearney believes that the company has already done too much work installing cables and other infrastructure in Duxbury to pull out.
â€œTheyâ€™ve spent the money already,â€ he said.
â€œCustomer reaction to Verizon FiOS has been tremendous. This is a highly successful business, and we want to ensure it is positioned for future growth,â€ said Verizon Regional Director Rick Colon in a statement. â€œSo weâ€™re shifting our current focus to honoring our deployment commitments and building on the popularity of our product by winning FiOS TV customers where we have cable franchises. In areas where we havenâ€™t started building or have only begun to build our all-fiber network, we will take a pause in franchise negotiations and re-evaluate where we go next.â€
The process of negotiating a cable license is long. Verizon filed an initial application in January, after initially telling Town Manager Richard MacDonald that it would take a few years to bring FiOS to Duxbury.
The town had the responsibility of completing the next step, called an â€œissuing authority response,â€ which the Board of Selectmen did in May.
However, according to Kearney, some wires got crossed and Verizon did not get the report right away.
â€œThey went looking for it. They now have it,â€ he said.
He said his committee is expecting to hear back from the company sometime after Labor Day.
This is also when Kearney is expecting to hear back from Comcast in the next step of their negotiations.
Comcast has been in prolonged negotiations with the town since the contract with now-defunct Adelphia ended in 2004. Sticking points in the negotiations have included the townâ€™s ability to have public access channels.
â€œWe will probably be the first town where franchise agreements will be negotiated simultaneously,â€ Kearney said.
All cable agreements are non-exclusive, he added, so Comcast and Verizon would be able to offer Duxbury residents a choice if agreements are reached with both companies.