The Village of Williston Park Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Monday to renew an agreement with cable service provider Verizon Wireless for five years.
Coming to the end of a 10-year agreement originally signed in 2007, Verizon is looking toward the future and anticipating more technological advances, said Brendon Pinkard, an attorney for Verizon.
“In a time of rapidly accelerating technology, both generally and more specifically in the video delivery context, it simply does not make sense to lock both parties into a 10-year agreement based on a regulatory framework designed and implemented over 30 years ago,” Pinkard told village trustees during a public hearing Monday night.
Verizon’s franchise service manager, William Freshwater, said Verizon now has new competitors such as Hulu, Amazon and Google. The difference is that 10 years ago, there were only Verizon and Cablevision, Freshwater said.
“The market is changing and the technology of the market is changing,” he said. “For the benefit of the village and Verizon, it makes sense to have a shorter term. We would anticipate that there would also be other changes in how the franchises and the business are regulated.”
Under the new agreement, the village will receive 5 percent of Verizon’s gross revenue from cable service within the village.
Pinkard said the revised agreement only differs from the 10-year original in that it does not currently provide for further public educational government grants, or PEG grants. However, Verizon will continue to cover and provide three public-access TV channels to village residents.
Under federal law, PEG grants are provided by cable operators “based on ascertained PEG needs of the community,” Pinkard said. The agreement allows the company and the village to revisit this issue during the five-year term if the village determines its needs have changed.
Though the village trustees approved the franchise agreement renewal, it cannot officially go into effect until it is reviewed by the New York State Public Service Commission.
No village residents attended the public hearing at Village Hall.
Also on Monday, the Board of Trustees voted to purchase a new infrared heater from Trius, a Long Island-based municipal and contractors’ equipment distributor.
The village public works superintendent, Keith Bunnell, said the heater, located within a mobile trailer, could be parked over distressed areas to repair road damage such as potholes in a quicker, more cost effective way.
The purchase would not have an impact on the village Highway Department’s budget.
This story originally appeared on TheIslandNow.com for The Williston Times on June 6, 2017.