Some good news for us folks in the northern burbs, but the last line is so true (not anytime soon):
From this week's North County News http://ncnlocal.com/local_towns/yorktown.asp
Yorktown in talks with Verizon for cable service
By Art Cusano
Yorktown residents may soon have a choice as to what cable company they can use.
According to Yorktown Councilman Nick Bianco, the town is in talks with Verizon to sign a contract for FiOS cable service, an all fiber-optic cable service which would provide an alternative to Cablevision, currently the sole cable provider in Yorktown.
“We are still in negotiation with Verizon,” Bianco said. “Our contract with Cablevision has expired and we’re on a month-to-month basis with them.”
Bianco said there were some “outstanding issues” that needed to be discussed with Verizon before a contract could be signed and that the town was holding closed-door negotiations to work them out.
Town Attorney John Buckley confirmed that the town was indeed in negotiations with Verizon in addition to Cablevision.
“We’re speaking primarily with Verizon,” Buckley said.
“This is a competitive choice,” Bianco said. “The citizens should be able to choose.”
Dennis Tate, a member of the Yorktown cable advisory committee and a part-time employee of Cablevision, said Verizon is not available in some parts of town and would probably not be available anytime soon.
Tate said that the FiOS lines have only been installed in about 40 percent of the town, and the company would not have to provide service to the entire town before signing a contract.
“They would have five years to get the whole town [hooked up],” Tate said
He said that when the town started getting DSL service through Verizon several years ago, people in his neighborhood didn’t get access to the service until much later than other areas.
“Two years went by and they finally installed the software,” Tate said. “So somebody’s going to get the short end of the stick.”
Tate also fears that the talks with Verizon will hurt the town’s relationship with Cablevision, the lone current cable provider in the town.
Tate also said Verizon subscribers would lose channel 12, which provides local news and that although touted as competition to Cablevision, Verizon’s prices are actually more expensive.
Tate complained that the cable advisory committee hadn’t met in months and he had been unaware of the board’s talks with Verizon.
“We’ve not been kept up to date,” said Frank McVetty, another board member.
It wasn’t until after a town board meeting in June that members of the committee were invited to attend that they found out about current negotiations.
Tate and McVetty contended that the appointed co-chairs of the committee, Bill Rubin and Maria Lamonica DeSimone, have held meetings with the town board without them. The two were unable to be reached at press time.
“We have been in negotiations for a television franchise in Yorktown,” confirmed John Bonomo, a director for media relations for Verizon. “They’re one of the last towns in northern Westchester and we’re eager to get them.”
Bonomo said the price for a package that includes telephone, television and Internet was about the same price as the one Cablevision offers. He also said high definition channels are included in the price of the package.
“We have just over 30 high definition channels right now, and by the end of the year we plan to have all the available major HD programming,” Bonomo said.
According to Bonomo, New York law requires franchises to have complete coverage within five years of signing a contract. He said he was unable to give an average time in which that usually occurs because FiOS is a fairly new product and no town has reached complete coverage yet.
Bonomo said that there is a termination fee for getting out of a one- or two-year contract, it was a common practice and the only reason the other provider in town (Cablevision) didn’t have one was that it had no competition.
No new discussions were set with Verizon at press time; however, Bianco cautioned that the negotiations would not be finished anytime soon.
“It’s not coming tomorrow,” Bianco said.