West Windsor Township Council voted to delay a decision to grant communications giant Verizon a cable franchise and permission to offer their fiber-optic “FIOS” television service to residents. One week later, the New Jersey State Senate may have made that decision irrelevant by passing a bill granting a statewide franchise to the communications giant.
At the hearing, held during the Monday, June 12, council meeting, representatives from Verizon told the council that their arrival will most likely induce Comcast, the current cable provider, to slash their rates in order to compete. Several residents spoke in favor of allowing Verizon to bring competitive balance to the marketplace.
West Windsor had the chance to become the second New Jersey township to grant Verizon municipal consent to provide service. Hightstown has voted to grant the franchise, and that is currently under review by the township’s cable television committee. Verizon is seeking franchises in 92 New Jersey municipalities.
Township council voted unanimously to delay a decision until June 26, when Verizon will again present its case. The council could have delayed the hearing as late as July 12, but opted to review the information for two more weeks. The senate’s vote on the bill will not affect the hearing. Verizon will continue its efforts to get franchises in all 92 municipalities until it is certain that the statewide franchise will be granted.
If Governor Corzine signs the bill into law, Verizon will be able to operate throughout New Jersey without individual municipal consent after 45 days.