Last night the County Council voted unanimously to grant Verizon a video franchise. Some news reports estimate that there are more than 265,000 viewers -- the total population is below 300,000 so note that this is not the same as households. The latter figure is probably slightly less than 95,000. Regardless, this suburban Maryland county is a coup for deployment of the FIOS system. Of interest, the county is unincorporated (no city government). As a result, Verizon doesn't have to deal with officials in Ellicott City, Columbia and each of the other areas trying to extract rents.
What did they give up? There appears to be a buildout schedule with the densly populated part of county on a three-year schedule and most of the rest of the county on a seven-year plan. This move is just more evidence that the former telcos are not of one mind on the franchising issue. Some find it distasteful, others find it abhorrent. Needless to say, officials from DBS providers and Comcast won't be pleased with the new competitive threat in a wealthy market.