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Verizon set to receive a one-year extension on Fios service in Arlington

Verizon logo on a store in Clarendon (staff photo)

On March 11, 2020, Covid was declared a global pandemic. More than three years later, the knock-on effects of Covid are still being felt, including when it comes to television and internet service in Arlington.

The Arlington County Board on Saturday is expected to extend the franchise agreement with Verizon to provide its Fios service to county residents for another year. The relatively short-term extension is being proposed because negotiations over a longer-term extension were “significantly impacted” by the pandemic, county staff say.

The Board approved a similar extension for Comcast Xfinity service in November.

More on the Verizon extension vote, below, from the staff report to the County Board.

SUMMARY: The County Board has issued Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity to three entities for the provision of cable television service: Comcast, Verizon, and RCN Corporation. The Verizon franchise expires on June 13, 2023. To continue the Verizon renewal process, the County must extend the existing Certificate.

BACKGROUND: Verizon has provided cable television services within the County since June of 2006 when the Board approved the initial franchise. Before considering any renewal of the Certificate, the County must assess its needs for public, educational and government television facilities, institutional network, technology, and other general requirements. In addition, the County must determine if Verizon has complied with all the terms and conditions of the Certificate.

DISCUSSION: By the letter dated January 17, 2019, Verizon sent to the County a notice of its desire to renew the Certificate, as provided for by 47 U.S.C. § 546. The COVID pandemic significantly impacted the County’s ability to commence good-faith face-to-face negotiations. Accordingly, the proposed Resolution extends the period available for negotiation beyond the expected duration of the pandemic

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