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Washington County approval clears way for Verizon cable TV plan

The company could launch fiber-optic service sometime next year

Verizon Northwest is getting ready to crank up the cable television competition in Washington County.

The company's plan to provide fiber-optic television service to most of the county got a boost Tuesday when commissioners approved Verizon Northwest's franchise proposal. It was the 11th jurisdiction to approve the project and the final OK for Verizon, which should provide television service using telephone lines beginning in several months.

Ten other cities within the Metropolitan Area Communications Commission, including Beaverton, Tigard and Tualatin, have approved the Verizon plan. That clears the way for Verizon to begin offering services to most places also served by Comcast Inc.

Comcast officials blasted the proposal in mid-February, asking the commission to consider altering its existing franchise to 'level the playing field.'

Fred Christ, the commission's policy and regulatory affairs manager, said Comcast has not submitted a revised franchise proposal since the Feb. 12 letter.

David Valdez, Verizon Northwest's regional senior vice president, praised the franchise approval and said it would benefit the county because of increased competition.

'MACC's video franchise agreement with Verizon means consumer choice in cable TV is on the way for more than 156,000 Washington County households early next year,' Valdez said.

Verizon asked the commission in early February to approve a cable television franchise agreement that would connect customers through a fiber-optic network hooked into telephone lines.

Customers using the new service will be able to get Verizon's FiOS TV and FiOS Internet service.