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Township Signs TV Deal With Verizon

SANATOGA PA – Every good negotiator knows a deal’s not done unless someone signs the contract that commits to an agreement. So, good negotiator that he is, Verizon representative Daniel Reavy wasn’t ready to leave Monday’s (March 2, 2009) meeting of the Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township Board of Commissioners without a signature.

He got one.

Lower Pottsgrove Commissioners' Chairman signed a franchise agreement Monday with Verizon Corp.

Board Chairman Bruce Foltz signs a township franchise agreement Monday with Verizon.

With strokes of a pen wielded by board Chairman Bruce Foltz, the township formally entered into a franchise agreement with Verizon Corp. to supply the company’s FiOS-branded television services to township residents. The first viewers probably can start enjoying programs delivered over Verizon’s fiber optic cables by this summer, Reavy said, although it may take up to five years for its service to be available to every home within Lower Pottsgrove’s almost 8 sqaure miles.

The township has been served for years by cable television from Comcast Corp. under a similar franchise agreement. Verizon represents new competition, and Reavy, who is the company’s local director of external affairs, has said he hopes to capture a minimum of 25 to 30 percent of the market here. That accounts for about $1 million in gross sales annually, on which Lower Pottsgrove will earn a 5-percent fee, according to township Manager Rodney Hawthorne.

As a result, the township hopes to profit by as much as $50,000 a year from the Verizon agreement. It currently makes $150,000 annually from Comcast, Hawthorne estimated. The agreement also pays the township a small signing bonus, and gives it access to two cable channels for government and educational use.

The franchise fee, which will be included on each customer’s bill, is charged only on television services, Commissioner Anthony Doyle noted. Customers who also order telephone, Internet or other services – Reavy smiled at the prospect while Doyle talked – won’t pay a franchise fee for them.

“I’m very glad we’ve got Verizon on board,” Doyle added later. “I think everybody’s ready for the competition.” Councilman Stephen Klotz agreed: “They can’t get here soon enough,” he said.

Getting to the contract signing has taken about two years, and the act of putting Foltz’s pen to paper was planned in advance. The 3/4-inch-thick bundle of documents had been vetted earlier by township Solicitor R. Kurtz Holloway, and reviewed by board members during an executive session held Feb. 19.


Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ March 2 meeting):

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