WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Nineteen thousand households here can now get Verizon FiOS TV, with amazingly sharp pictures and sound and offering a true choice for subscription television and On Demand programming, via the company's all-digital, fiber-optic network. Verizon is the only company to offer such a communications network all the way to customers in millions of homes and offices across the country. Verizon began taking orders for its fiber-optic TV services today, following the Pasco County Commission's unanimous decision on May 9 to grant the company a franchise to provide television services in the county. In the months ahead, Verizon will expand FiOS TV's availability to more households in more areas of the county. With the availability of FiOS TV in Tampa announced May 17, over 60,000 households have been added to the inventory of FiOS-eligible customers in the region. "Residents in Wesley Chapel have shown strong demand for the FiOS Internet and voice offering and have been waiting to add this third jewel to the crown," said Alan Ciamporcero, Verizon's Southeast region president. "We are very happy to bring choice, competition and the value that it creates to Wesley Chapel and look forward to spreading FiOS TV to other communities in Pasco County in the weeks ahead." Service highlights include: * A broad collection of all-digital programming and compelling consumer choice -- with more than 350 total channels and more on the way. * A lead offer with more than 180 digital video and music channels for $39.95. With an annual savings agreement, customers can choose either $5 off the monthly Movie Package price or waive the monthly standard set-top box fee of $3.95. * More than 20 high-definition (HD) channels, with extraordinary clarity and theater-quality sound. * Over 2,200 On Demand titles available to customers now, increasing to over 3,500 titles in the next several months. * Channels grouped by genres such as entertainment, sports, news, shopping, movies and family, making it easy for audiences to find their favorite programming. * An easy-to-use interactive programming guide that integrates HD programming, On Demand content and the digital video recorder along with broadcast television into a seamless user experience. * A dual-tuner, HD-capable DVR that gives customers the freedom to pause and rewind live TV, record one show while watching another, and fast forward to their favorite part of the program -- all without a VCR, tapes or DVDs. Information on packages and prices is available at www.verizon.net/fiostv. Customers also can call 1-800-880-2941 to see if they are able to order FiOS TV. Pasco County and Wesley Chapel join the city of Temple Terrace, Hillsborough County, Tampa and parts of southern Manatee County as FiOS TV markets in Florida. Early response to the television, data and voice offerings in those areas has been strong. When Verizon reported its 2006 first-quarter earnings, it noted that it has achieved a 10 percent penetration of FiOS TV-eligible households in its Florida market overall. In Temple Terrace, market penetration is 16 percent since FiOS TV was introduced in that community in December. In addition to Florida, FiOS TV is also available to customers in parts of six other states: California, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York Texas and Virginia. "Our plan is to add more households each month while also managing the available work force to meet consumer demand," said Ciamporcero. "We want to deliver FiOS television and high-speed Internet services to consumers as quickly as possible." Additionally, Verizon continues to negotiate with the city of Oldsmar and Sarasota County for franchises. Delivered over Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network, FiOS TV is a formidable competitor to cable and satellite. The Verizon FTTP network, the largest of its kind in the country, is currently under construction in more than half the states where the company offers landline communications services, including more than 20 of Verizon's service areas in Florida. To date, Verizon has deployed nearly three million feet of fiber in Pasco County. The network brings the power and capacity of fiber optics directly into people's homes and has industry-leading quality and reliability. Fiber delivers high quality and has the capacity to transmit a wide array of high-definition programming that is so clear and intense it seems to leap from the TV screen. It also delivers Internet download speeds of up to 30 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps as well as high-quality voice services. Programming choices for African-American, Asian, Russian and other multicultural and ethnic audiences will be available in every market. Because FiOS TV has so much capacity, it will also be an outlet for emerging and independent networks to showcase their diverse programming. (More information about FiOS TV and fiber optics is available in Verizon's online News Center at www.verizon.com/news.) Service and Package Details FiOS TV subscribers can choose from three simple-to-understand service offerings, each with built-in choice and value. They can then choose from packages and premium channels with programming that meets their special interests. Verizon offers three set-top boxes: standard definition for $3.95 per month; high definition, which includes HD channels, for $9.95 per month; and a dual-tuner, HD-capable digital video recorder for $12.95 per month. The services include: * FiOS TV Local, with access to 15-35 local broadcast, weather and community channels for $12.95 per month. The service is digital with a set-top box, which also provides access to On Demand programming. FiOS TV Local is also available as an analog service that does not require a set-top box for viewing. * FiOS TV Premier, Verizon's lead offer, delivers more than 180 video and music channels for $39.95 as a stand-alone service or $34.95 a month with Verizon FiOS Internet Service or a qualifying voice plan. This tier includes access to On Demand content and requires a set-top box. High-definition channels are included in this tier at no extra charge, and customers must have an HD set-top box and an HD-ready TV to view them. * La Conexion, an alternative to FiOS TV Premier designed for bilingual consumers who enjoy TV programs in English and Spanish, for $27.95 per month with Verizon FiOS Internet Service or a qualifying voice plan. La Conexion is also available as a stand-alone service for $32.95 per month. The package includes nearly 140 channels with English and Spanish-language programming and access to On Demand programming. This service requires a set-top box. High-definition channels are included in this tier at no extra charge, and customers must have an HD set-top box and an HD-ready TV to view them. Consumers with a passion for movies can add the movie package with 44 channels of Starz, Encore, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Sundance and Flix, as well as 255 titles of On Demand programming, for a regular price of $11.95 a month. Sports enthusiasts can add a 15-channel sports package for $5.95 a month. Or, both packages can be purchased for $14.95 a month. In addition to the movie package, customers with a set-top box can order new, On Demand movie releases for $3.95 each or choose from a selection of movie library titles for $2.95 each. For wrestling fans, Verizon offers World Wrestling Entertainment's WWE 24/7, a subscription On Demand service, for $7.95 a month. Karaoke fans can sing along at home with a subscription to the Karaoke package for $7.95 a month. Verizon also offers 14 HBO channels and 12 Cinemax channels as premium services, with each set of channels available for $14.95. The price includes access to each channel's subscription On Demand library. Subscribers who want both HBO and Cinemax will pay $24.95 per month. The value of FiOS TV extends to the installation and customer support. Specially trained Verizon technicians will install the service and acquaint subscribers with FiOS TV features and services. Verizon is waiving the installation fee for up to three existing TV outlets, and there is no charge to install a needed optical network terminal at the subscriber's home. Charges for other installation services, such as additional outlets, may apply. Verizon provides 24x7 technical assistance by phone from its specialized Fiber Solutions Centers. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other communication innovations to wireline and wireless customers. Verizon operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 53 million customers nationwide; one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks; and one of the nation's premier wireline networks, serving mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 250,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com. VERIZON'S ONLINE NEWS CENTER: Verizon news releases, executive speeches and biographies, media contacts, high quality video and images, and other information are available at Verizon's News Center on the World Wide Web at www.verizon.com/news. To receive news releases by e-mail, visit the News Center and register for customized automatic delivery of Verizon news releases.