070426picphoneCompetition for the cable TV company? It’s coming to parts of Pennsylvania. And Pittsburgh area communities need to band together if they want to quickly negotiate agreements to obtain new fiber-optic television service from Verizon, says O’Hara Township attorney Dan Cohen. According to the Tribune-Review, parts of eastern Pennsylvania are going to be among the first in the United States to receive the new TV service, called Verizon FiOS, which could provide real competition for monopoly cable TV systems like Comcast. But the phone company doesn’t want to just copy the 1960s-era cable TV contracts with local governments, and it also doesn’t want to negotiate with each of Allegheny County’s 130 municipalities separately. Several boroughs and townships in the eastern, southern and northern parts of Allegheny County, including Monroeville and the members of the North Hills Council of Government, have hired Cohen to negotiate franchise agreements with Verizon as a group. Still to be determined: Who’s responsible for cancelling “According to Jim,” and will they please do it soon?