The Howard County, Md., council Tuesday night unanimously granted a franchise to Verizon for its FiOS multichannel video service, the company's first franchise in the state. The county is currently served by Comcast.
Howard County, which is just West of Baltimore and North of Washington, is the fourth Verizon franchise in the general D.C. area. The company also has franchises in Fairfax and Herndon and the Marine Corp. base at Quantico, all in Virginia.
Verizon will have three years to build out the service to 85%-90% of the population and seven years to reach the balance of potential subs. The deal also includes set-asides for educational and government-access channels, as well as cable service to government buildings.
Verizon Director of Media Relations Harry Mitchell says the franchise "doesn't disadvantate anyone" and is essentially the same as that of Comcast.
Verizon's FiOS TV debuted in Keller, Texas, Sept. 22. It currently has franchises in seven states: Maryland, Texas, Virginia, California, Florida, New York and Massachusetts.