Verizon vid gets California OK

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Verizon Communications se-cured California's first statewide video franchise Thursday, opening competition to incumbent cable and satellite providers.

The state's Public Utilities Commission approved an application from Verizon under a sped-up process approved last year by California's Legislature. The green light will allow Verizon to expand the footprint of its video offering, FiOS TV, to 45 more communities in Southern California, including Los Angeles.

"The commission's rapid ap-proval of our application opens up an exciting new dimension in home entertainment for many of our Southern California customers," said Tim McCallion, Verizon's West region president. "This is a huge victory for consumers."

FiOS TV already is in 18 communities in California, which previously granted access in a process that necessitated that telcos appeal to each local franchise for permission. But California became one of a handful of states to accelerate that process when it passed the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act, which ordered PUC to review video franchises within two weeks of application.

"As new companies enter into the video marketplace, we believe California consumers will benefit from more choices in programming and service options," PUC executive director Steve Larson said.

Verizon is expected to announce which communities will get FiOS TV this month.
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