Verizon Launching 2nd FiOS System

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Washington, or at least one of its more prominent suburbs, can start watching  telco TV this week.

Verizon, the most agressive telco video provider to date, is launching its second system this week, in the town of Herndon, Va., having secured a franchise to overbuild the market last July. Cox has the cable franchise there.

Washington will soon get more FiOS. Verizon struck an other franchise agreement last month with Fairifax County, the D.C. suburb that surrounds the separately incorporated Herndon.

Verizon is working to secure franchises in more than 200 other Virginia municipalities, but is is also hoping to get some regulatory relief in the form of legislation that would establish a state or nationwide franchising scheme, or that might do away with franchises entirely.

Telcos argue that not having to seek individual franchises will allow it to more quickly provide more competition in the multichannel video market, one of the Bush administration's, the FCC's and Congress's stated priorities.

Cable argues that if the franchising process is to be streamlined or short-cut, the same advantages should apply to cable.

Verizon's FiOS TV debuted in Keller, Tex., Sept. 22. Verizon. Texas' Public Utility Commission last month approved that state's first statewide franchise for telco video service. Verizon had filed for franchises in 21 communities under the state's new franchise law, the first of its kind in the country.

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