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FiOS-ians Shuffle Through Grand Central

7/28/2008 3:00 AM

NEW YORK — Blink and you woulda missed it.

At 7:35 a.m. Eastern, about 100 people wearing black and red polo shirts — a couple of them with hardhats — strolled calmly through the storied main concourse of Grand Central Terminal. The "march" was to kick off Verizon’s entry into the New York City cable TV business

A few of the Verizon folks waved and murmured "Good morning, New York!" and "Hey New York, FiOS is here!" to no one in particular.

Three minutes later, the column filed up the stairs to 43rd and Vanderbilt. 

Nobody really noticed. 

Well, except for me and the two videographers Verizon hired to shoot B-roll. Team FiOS might as well have been a Japanese tour group passing through.

As publicity stunts go, this was about as unflashy as you could get.

But for cable companies facing FiOS, all this means is that Verizon isn’t just sizzle and no steak. It’s methodical. Patient. It’s here for the long haul.

Verizon today announced it now offers 100 high-definition channels in the metro New York market — well above Time Warner Cable and Cablevision.

In the Big Apple’s five boroughs, service will be available initially to 300,000 households in 108 neighborhoods. By the end of 2008, Verizon expects to offer FiOS TV to 500,000 homes in New York City. 

In Q2, Verizon added 176,000 FiOS TV subs across all markets, to stand at 1.4 million video customers. That’s a notable drop-off from its 263,000 adds in Q1. But it appears to put FiOS TV ahead of Mediacom, and ties it with Suddenlink.

Here are some photos from the 3 minutes Team FiOS spent in Grand Central:

Can you spot the Verizon crew? They’re there to the left of the information booth. Honest, they’re over there somewhere…

The Verizon personnel were friendly and polite, and went largely unnoticed.

"Psst, hey buddy, wanna buy some FiOS?"