Assuming that Pittsburgh City Council and the Cable Advisory Board approve, neighborhoods within city limits could start receiving FiOS TV service from Verizon. The deal, which will bring the first cable competition ever in the city, was made today.
City residents have had only one choice since cable TV has existed and that choice is currently known as Comcast. According to the Post-Gazette, Comcast’s 10-year agreement expires at the end of this year. Now that negotiations are through with Verizon, City Information Systems Director Howard Stern expects contract renewal with Comcast should be easier.
Verizon will have six years to offer cable to every city neighborhood or it will face fines. In fact, the company has three years to market TV in half of the city. Areas expected to be ready the soonest are most of the North Side, South Hills neighborhoods bordering the suburbs, Downtown and some parts of Lawrenceville. FiOS Internet service is already available in some of these areas and TV would be easy to add. Officials say it’s possible that these services could start in August or September.
The city will benefit for letting Verizon offer TV to the city and allowing the company to use rights of way. Pittsburgh gets 5 percent of the gross revenue which is the same as it gets from Comcast. Additionally, Verizon will provided dedicated fiber-optic lines between public safety facilities, $700,000 over 5 years to improve in-house video serves and five channels – two for governmental use, one for PCTV and one for city schools.