Verizon Signs More Networks, Seeks More Franchises

Verizon Communications is frantically trying to make up for lost time in the TV business. The Baby Bell, which launched its new FiOS TV service in the Dallas suburbs late last month, has signed up three more major cable programmers -- MTV Networks, Scripps Networks and The Weather Channel -- for its all-digital lineup. That gives Verizon access to more than a dozen other cable channels. But Verizon still lacks carriage deals with several other major TV programmers, including Fox Networks Group, Home Box Office, Rainbow Media Holdings and Lifetime Television. There's no word on when those deals might be hammered out. Taking advantage of a new Texas law, Verizon has also applied for a state franchise covering 21 communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. The company said the new franchise would enable it to offer video service to 400,000 homes in North Texas by the end of next year. But that would still leave it short of its cable rivals in the state.

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