The operator, which crosses swords with Verizon's fiber-to-the-premises network in New York, said it "respectfully disagrees" with a recommendation by a National Advertising Review Board Panel that TW Cable halt the use of challenged claims that appeared in an array of video, print and Internet ads, but will comply with the decision nonetheless.
"Time Warner Cable believes that the panel's decision denies Time Warner Cable the opportunity to truthfully and accurately describe its fiber-optic network in its advertising -- a practice which it has engaged in for two decades without any signs of consumer confusion or harm," the MSO said in a statement.
The panel found that TW Cable's use of fiber as a "predominant characteristic" of its products and services "can be misleading."
Verizon challenged several ad claims, including one noting that Road Runner Turbo, one of the MSO's higher-end cable modem tiers, "is zooming across the advanced fiber network." Here's a sample of one of the ads Verizon was challenging:
Why this matters
The decision is a blow not just to TW Cable but to all cable marketing mavens that use or intend to use "fiber" to help tart up the capabilities of hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks that use fiber-to-the-node architectures.
And there's a good chance MSOs will have to steer clear of the term in ads for several years since most MSOs are expected to use techniques that squeeze more life out of their HFC networks well before they consider pulling fiber all the way to the home for consumer services.
It likewise means that Verizon and other telcos that use FTTH can market fiber to the hilt and continue to play up its real and perceived service value.
So far, the perceived value of FTTH has been questionable, at least when it comes to high-speed Internet services. While cable operators have been losing basic video subs hand-over-fist, their cable modem services have been more than holding their own against FTTH and DSL competition.
For more on cable's plans to get more out of HFC and the industry's limited flirtation with FTTH, please check out:
- Does HFC Have Plenty of Legs Left?
- CableLabs Eyes a Super-Sized Upstream
- Docsis Gets Its EPON On
- Costs Could Keep RFoG a Niche Player
- US MSOs Get Rolling With 100-Meg Wideband
- Moto Preaches Cable's Upstream Savior
- Cox Flirts With Fiber
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable