Representative Nita Lowey

Representing the 17th District of New York

Lowey, Engel and Bipartisan Group of Members of Congress from New York and New Jersey Call on Verizon to Reinstate Fios1 News

September 3, 2019
Press Release

WHITE PLAINS, NY — Representative Nita Lowey, Chair of the House Committee on Appropriations; Rep. Eliot L. Engel, Chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and a bipartisan group of representatives from New York and New Jersey today sent a letter to Verizon to ask for reconsideration of the decision to cancel its contract with Fios1 News.

Effective this November, RNN News will no longer be providing news coverage, a direct result of Verizon ending its 10-year contract with the network. Fios1 News has provided local news coverage not only to the Lower Hudson Valley, but also Long Island and northern New Jersey. The termination of the contract, which Verizon announced last month, would result in the loss of 150 jobs, including almost 100 local journalists, threatening diversity and competition in these local news markets.

Co-Signers: Peter T. King, Bill Pascrell, Sean Patrick Maloney, Lee Zeldin, Josh Gottheimer, Thomas R. Suozzi, Tom Malinowski, and Kathleen M. Rice.

The full text of the letter is below. A PDF copy is available here.

 

Mr. Hans Vestberg

CEO, Verizon Communications

140 West Street

New York, NY 10007

 

Dear Mr. Vestberg:

We are writing with great concern over the impact that canceling the contract between Verizon and RNN would have on our constituents and your consumers. Ending this contract would shut down Fios1 News, a major contributor to original programming, and threaten the robust free press that drives our democracy in New York and New Jersey. 

For the last 10 years, Fios1 News has played a crucial role in not only providing award-winning local coverage but also providing jobs that enrich our regional economy. We are troubled that ending this contract would result in a loss of 150 jobs and put almost 100 local journalists out of work. As we have seen from the cuts and consolidation in print media, local journalism is irreplaceable, and these cuts would do great harm.

Verizon’s plans to replace Fios1 News will fail to provide the diverse programming that is so critical to our communities. We believe it is Verizon’s responsibility to offer original, hyper-local news programming to ensure competition in these local news markets. Therefore, we write on their behalf to request that Verizon reconsider its actions and commit to reinstating Fios1 News in New York and New Jersey.

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