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Town Signs Verizon Franchise Agreement

New agreement will provide high-speed Internet, phone, cable services to customers.

The Clifton Town Council voted to enter a franchise agreement with Verizon Tuesday night, which will allow the company to provide Internet, video and digital phone service to the town.

As part of the agreement, the town will receive an estimated 5 percent return on all money received by Verizon for new customers, said Town Councilmember Mike Anton. In addition, the town will receive an extra 3 percent to be used for any purpose it deems necessary.

"In other locations, like the City of Fairfax, they use that money to pay for their television station to broadcast their meetings," Anton said. "Because we don't do that, we'll probably use the money for something educational."

THE FIBER OPTIC connections will be installed underground along Main Street and Chapel Road as part of an agreement reached between the town and both Verizon and Cox, which already provides cable services in Clifton, Anton said. Individual connections to homes will be made when residents decide to sign up with Verizon.

Verizon will be able to provide 100 percent coverage in Clifton because of the town's small size, Anton said. However, not all the homes will have their fiber optic cables buried.

"Where the wires are currently above ground, their new connections will be above ground as well," Anton said.

Verizon will offer high-speed Internet service from the company's closest outpost, currently in Centreville, said Scott Sisk, an engineer from Verizon.

"We pretty much put DSL on a bit of a back burner for right now, so we can offer this instead," he said.

Work to underground the cables will begin in January, Sisk said, and it will take several months for the work to be completed.

COX HAS ALREADY begun to underground its cables along Main Street and Chapel Road and agreed to install a second set of conduits, so when Verizon is ready to begin its installation, the roads will not have to be opened again, Anton said.

Other items discussed at Tuesday night's meeting included:

* Mayor Tom Peterson has contacted Del. Tim Hugo (R-40) for his help in passing legislation that would allow the Town of Clifton to reduce the speed limit in town to a speed that will be determined in the future. Peterson said he has not been able to speak with Hugo but has heard from his assistant that Hugo supports the change in an effort to calm traffic in town.

* Clean-up work in Buckley Park, where trees were knocked over by the rainstorm at the end of June, is scheduled to begin in a few weeks, when the workload for Care of Trees slows down for the winter season, said Councilmember Lane Johnston.

* Resident and contractor Royce Jarrendt has submitted a copy of a contract and check he will present to the Town Council to purchase the Old Town Hall. Jarrendt has said he hopes to renovate the structure and add another building to be used for small office space. The Old Town Hall and the new construction would be linked by a meeting space, and while Jarrendt would pay for all renovations and maintenance, the town would have use of the building in perpetuity.

* Old streets signs from the Town of Clifton are available for purchase on a first come, first served basis for $25 each on the town's Web site, www.cliftonva.us.