Verizon Communications representatives are continuing to meet with Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township in attempts to complete agreement on negotiations that would bring the company’s high-speed fiber optic television, Internet and telephone subscription services to township households.
A third meeting at Lower Pottsgrove’s administration building, Buchert Road, was held Oct. 7, according to Sharon Shaffer, Verizon’s manager for media relations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Florida. She characterized the talks as “progressing well” but declined to offer specifics, adding, “We typically don’t make public the details of the franchise negotiations.”
Conversations center on a legal contract, called a franchise agreement, between the township and Verizon. In it, Lower Pottsgrove would agree to allow Verizon to sell its FiOS-branded services for a period of years in exchange for fees or other considerations to be paid to the township. Comcast Corp., a Verizon competitor for all three services, currently has a 10-year franchise agreement with Lower Pottsgrove.
Revenues and other compensation offered under franchise agreements vary depending on municipality. The contract’s value to the township could range from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Some agreements pay municipalities a percentage of the dollar volume of subscriptions sold; others pay a percentage of the dollar volume of advertising sold within subscribed services. Almost all receive free service at their facilities; for example, Internet connections at a police department.
Verizon already has franchise agreements in place with 49 Montgomery County municipalities, Shaffer said. She declined to specify the number of current subscribers, citing it as “competitive marketing information.” Neighboring Limerick Township, east of Lower Pottsgrove, signed its franchise agreement with Verizon in August 2006.
Assuming a Lower Pottsgrove agreement is signed in coming months, Shaffer said, Verizon could roll out FiOS services here in early 2009.
Editor’s addendum, Dec. 11, 2009:
In December 2008, Verizon and Comcast were battling over franchise rights at Philadelphia City Hall, too. The video below appeared in the business pages of the Philadelphia Inquirer on Dec. 3, 2008.