Verizon Asks FCC for FiOS Help
Adding more fuel to the firestorm between telcos and cable MSOs, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today to help make it easier for customers to switch to a competing cable service provider. (See Verizon Lobbies FCC.)
Verizon complained to the FCC that incumbent cable providers cause delays by not accepting disconnect orders from a new service provider when a customer is trying to switch. Instead, Verizon says consumers have to call the MSOs, which then get an unfair last-word advantage in trying to keep a customer.
"This significantly complicates the process of switching video providers, thereby entrenching the cable incumbents' dominant market position," said Verizon in the petition.
Under the new procedures proposed by Verizon, video service providers (including telcos) would be required to accept disconnect orders from the competing provider to help facilitate the switch.
The struggle between cable and telcos is nothing new, but the fight has come before the FCC quite a bit in recent weeks. On Monday, Verizon filed a petition requesting the FCC enforce regulations for phone-number portability. Verizon accused the cable industry of taking longer than the allotted 24 hours to honor a number porting request, using the extra time to entice customers with marketing offers.
And last week, the FCC stepped in to rule against exclusive access contracts in MDUs. (See FCC Bans Exclusive Triple-Play Deals in MDUs and Telcos Favor FCC's MDU Lockup Ban.)
Of course, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) took some potshots against Verizon's petition today.
"Verizon's fairy tale complaint is a lame attempt to deflect criticism from its years-long illegal practice of misusing proprietary information to prevent consumers from switching to a new phone provider," an NCTA statement read.
— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading