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GROTON — On the cusp of bringing the town much needed competition in the cable television field, local officials are busily crossing T’s and dotting I’s ahead of a much anticipated agreement with telecommunications giant Verizon for access to the company’s television and internet services.

The company’s services have been planned as part of an overall upgrade of Verizon’s infrastructure in Groton that includes replacement of all wiring with fiber optics. Now in place, high speed cable service and a program called FiOS-TV is to be offered to all residents in direct competition with the town’s other provider, Charter Communications.

But even though the new infrastructure has been in place for months, Verizon’s cable television service has been nowhere in sight. The reason given to the town was that Groton is low on a waiting list to be connected with the improved services.

With the news received earlier this year that the town had been moved up on the list to receive the company’s FiOS cable television service in 2009, selectmen chose to grant Verizon’s request for a 30-day extension of its application period pending final contract negotiations.

Later, Haddad reported that after a pair of negotiating sessions, Verizon agreed to draft a contract with the town to be submitted to legal counsel for review. Which is where matters currently stand.

“The hold up right now is the community access channels,” commented Haddad. “The company wants to be able to make sure all hookups to various locations are done and ready to go. So we’re trying to figure out engineering-wise how to hook up places like the Middle School, the library and Town Hall.”

Haddad said that before any contract is officially signed however, the Board of Selectmen will need to hold a public hearing on the matter.

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