Verizon Communications will eliminate analog versions of local broadcast channels for FiOS TV customers in Massachusetts on May 12, continuing its transition to all-digital operation as part of an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission.
Verizon provided the duplicate channels to allow digital subscribers to view local programming in an analog format without using a set-top box. It has already stopped analog TV service in other markets, for example, shutting off analog TV channels in New York on April 21.
The telco pledged to the FCC to eliminate analog channels before the Feb. 17, 2009, digital TV transition in order to receive a temporary waiver to the agency's ban on set-tops with integrated security functions.
FiOS TV customers will need to install a Verizon-supplied set-top box to continue to receive the service on each TV in their home. Only TVs with a built-in digital QAM tuner will not need a set-top box or digital adapter to receive local programming.
Verizon will provide customers one Motorola DCT700 set-top at no charge; each additional box is $3.99 per month. The DCT700s cannot receive the FiOS interactive program guide or video-on-demand services.
Verizon said it has notified Massachusetts customers of the May 12 analog shutoff date with letters, e-mails and phone calls. The company also has set up a dedicated Web site, with information about the change.