Harrison Says Yes To Verizon Cable, Competition

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Residents speak during a public hearing on Verizon's franchise agreement, which the Harrison Town Board later approved.
Residents speak during a public hearing on Verizon's franchise agreement, which the Harrison Town Board later approved. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Adam Falk, Cablevision vice president of government affairs, takes issue with Verizon's new franchise agreement with Harrison. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Pamela Goldstein, Verizon assistant general counsel, asks the Harrison Town Board to approve its first franchise deal in the town. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
A resident speaks during a public hearing on Verizon's franchise agreement.
A resident speaks during a public hearing on Verizon's franchise agreement. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Several dozen residents turned out for a public hearing on Verizon's franchise agreement to offer parts of the town cable service.
Several dozen residents turned out for a public hearing on Verizon's franchise agreement to offer parts of the town cable service. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

HARRISON, N.Y. – Verizon cable service is coming to parts of Harrison after the Town Board unanimously approved a franchise agreement with the cable company at its meeting Thursday night, June 19.

A large crowd filled the courtroom for the public hearing on the matter and applauded after the vote to approve the franchise agreement.

Daryn Beringer of Purchase said she has had Verizon phone and wireless for years, and now will switch her cable in order to bundle her services and save money.

“Our taxes continue to rise, as do our fixed expenses,” she said. “When you have the ability to lower a fixed expense, that’s very important to everyone here.”

Adam Falk, vice president of government affairs for Cablevision, said Verizon is creating a system of “haves and have-nots” by choosing to cover what he said was a little more than half of the municipality. However, the town’s legal staff said the agreement will make Verizon cable available to about 91 percent of single-, two- and three-family dwellings.

“From my point of view competition for part of the town is better than no competition at all,” said Bob Funck, who lives in a cooperative building with 250 residents.

Cablevision has proposed a modified version of its franchise agreement to the town because, Falk said, Verizon’s agreement does not require it to offer the same level of benefits to the town.

Both companies’ agreements include a commitment to provide free service to 39 locations in town, like government buildings and schools. The Optimum Value package Cablevision offers to those locations normally costs $64.95, whereas Verizon would offer its basic service, normally worth $12.99 and at least 100 fewer channels.

“It’s very clear the benefit being provided by Verizon is significantly less than the benefit offered by Cablevision,” he said. “We have the right to have competition be provided fairly and equally.”

The Public Service Commission’s level-playing-field rule allows differences in franchise terms for different companies as they roll out cable service, according to Pamela Goldstein, Verizon assistant general counsel.

“We’re delighted to appear before you and to be taking this historic first step toward allowing Verizon to provide video choice and competition to Harrison consumers for the first time in almost 40 years,” she said.

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