Verizon Communications is prevented from carrying MSNBC in markets where Cablevision Systems is the incumbent provider, but before that restriction is lifted the telco plans to offer the network during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games to FiOS TV customers in the New York area.
Eric Rabe, Verizon senior vice president of media relations, disclosed the plan in a posting Wednesday on the company’s Web site.
“For those areas that cannot currently receive MSNBC, we will offer the channel during the Olympic games so that none of our FiOS TV customers miss any of the Olympics action,” Rabe wrote on the company’s blog site.
NBC Universal vice president of media relations for cable Alyssa Donelan confirmed that all of Verizon's FiOS TV customers will be able to watch the Olympics on MSNBC.
MSNBC is one of several NBC Universal networks—in addition to NBC, CNBC, USA Network, Oxygen and Telemundo—that will provide more than 3,600 hours of linear TV coverage of the Olympics.
Rabe, in his post, was responding to a customer’s question about Verizon’s rights to distribute MSNBC in the New York metro area. He acknowledged that Verizon does not have rights to offer MSNBC in towns where Cablevision offers service.
“Unfortunately, I can’t say when this restriction will end, but we hope to be able to offer MSNBC to our customers in the region as soon as possible,” Rabe said in his reply.
Cablevision has noted in the past that satellite video providers are able to offer MSNBC in its markets.
AT&T is also restricted from carrying MSNBC on U-verse TV in areas that overlap with Cablevision’s Connecticut territory.