Santa Claus won't be stuffing Verizon Communications Inc.'s stocking with a pay-TV franchise for Philadelphia this year.
Verizon had hoped to have a pay-TV deal by year's end, but the proposed 15-year agreement, fast-tracked by Mayor Nutter, is bogged down in committee over jobs and the pace of the installation of the $700 million FiOS pay-TV and Internet network.
Verizon hit a new snag in recent days when a minority-owned cable company said it wanted to be included in the deal.
Wilco Inc., of Fort Washington, which owns a small slice of Philadelphia's cable franchise, has hired attorney Sharif Street, son of former Mayor John Street, to lobby for an equity partnership with Verizon on its proposed franchise in Philadelphia. Wilco serves about 88,000 customers, primarily in Philadelphia Housing Authority multifamily units.
City Councilman Darrell Clarke, who is chairman of the Council committee reviewing the Verizon proposal, said Wilco might be in danger of losing customers as PHA builds more single-family housing. Clarke said he had questions about the participation of outside minority contractors in the Verizon installation, and Wilco's push "just adds more uncertainty."
Wilco could not be reached for comment today.
Clarke's committee will hold its second public hearing on the agreement with Verizon at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
Even in the unlikely event the proposal is passed by the committee in time for tomorrow's 10 a.m. meeting of the full City Council, the Council could not act until January for procedural reasons.
Verizon Pennsylvania president Gale Given said the company "can live with January."