Cablevision Lawsuit Targets Verizon FiOS

Centers on MSO's Ads Challenging All-Fiber Claims
gavel  400x300.jpg

Cablevision Systems has filed a lawsuit against Verizon Communications that seeks a judgement that will allow the cable operator to continue running an ad that challenges the telco’s claim that its FiOS service uses 100% fiber optics.

In the suit, filed Tuesday with the Southern District of New York and marking the latest legal battle between the competitors, Cablevision holds that in all or nearly all cases Verizon does not use fiber optic cable to deliver services in the home. And “in certain situations,” Verizon coax cable outside the home as well, Cablevision claimed.  

Cablevision said it’s seeking a declaratory judgment that will allow it to continue running ads that states that Verizon’s FiOS service “uses regular cable in the home.” According to the complaint, the “Let’s Play True or False” ad features the following voice over: "Verizon claims they're all fiber optic. True or false? The answer is false."

A Verizon spokesman issued a statement disputing the allegations. “Once again Cablevision demonstrates an unhealthy appetite for confusing consumers,” the Verizon official said. “Cablevision cannot compete with Verizon FiOS, or even come close to providing the Internet speeds and performance available from Verizon’s 100% fiber-optic network. Since their network can’t compete against FiOS, they resort to legal stunts, which we will challenge vigorously.”

“Verizon has not been truthful to the public for nearly 10 years about FiOS,” Cablevision said in its statement on the matter. “Verizon FiOS is not all fiber and, in fact, uses regular coaxial cable inside the home. Cablevision ran an advertisement revealing that FiOS is not all fiber, and now Verizon is demanding that Cablevision stop running its ad. Consumers deserve to make informed decisions based on facts, and Cablevision is asking the court to intervene to stop Verizon from attempting to continue to mislead the public.”

The suit is the latest legal volley between the companies. In January, Cablevision, the cable operator with the most competitive exposure to Verizon FiOS,  filed a separate suit in the Eastern District of New York against the telco centered on Verizon ads claiming that FiOS provides “the fastest WiFi available from any provider, period.”  In that suit, which is still pending, Cablevision alleged that Verizon ads about its FiOS Quantum Gateway made “false, misleading and deceptive advertising claims,” holding that those devices are no faster than the MSO’s own Optimum Smart Routers. Verizon countered that the WiFi-centered suit was a “boldface ploy to promote Cablevision’s latest wireless gambit,” a reference to Cablevision’s new WiFi-only Freelwheel service, and that third-party tests validate the telco’s claims.  

Verizon and Cablevision have also squabbled over TV ads about the DVR capabilities of Verizon’s FiOS Quantum TV service.

Verizon has been on the other side of the argument. In a 2008, Verizon filed a lawsuit against Time Warner Cable over ads that, the telco claimed, made “blatantly false” statements about FiOS services in an attempt to keep customers from switching service providers.