Verizon Communications won regulatory approval to provide digital television service in 45 Southern California cities, taking advantage of a new state law designed to create more alternatives to traditional cable TV.
The franchise granted by the California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday clears the way for Verizon to offer its "FiOS TV" package to several hundred thousand households scattered across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. The package includes 200 digital channels for $42.99 per month.
Verizon already offers FiOS TV in 18 other California communities under franchises approved by local government.
The PUC's action marks the first time that state regulators have approved a video franchise since legislators approved a law last fall making it easier for telecommunications carriers to challenge the monopolies built by cable TV providers.
"The commission's rapid approval of our application opens up an exciting new dimension in home entertainment for many of our Southern California customers," said Tim McCallon, Verizon's West region president. "This is a huge victory for consumers."