Cablevision has a bone to pick with Verizon. That "all-fiber" network Verizon says is powering FiOS? It's hiding coaxial cable in its midst.
Putting a fine point on Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s marketing claims, Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is taking issue with the fact that the FiOS service is said to be running on "100% fiber optics." Although FiOS is a fiber-to-the-home play, Cablevision points out that Verizon still uses coax in subscribers' homes. (See Verizon Saves 60% Swapping Copper for Fiber.)
The cable operator has been running its own advertisement disputing Verizon's marketing, but Verizon has demanded that the ad be taken off the air. In retaliation, Cablevision has now filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking a declaratory judgment that will allow it to continue running the spot.
In a statement, Cablevision said: "Verizon has not been truthful to the public for nearly 10 years about FiOS. Verizon FiOS is not all fiber and, in fact, uses regular coaxial cable inside the home. Cablevision ran an advertisement revealing that FiOS is not all fiber, and now Verizon is demanding that Cablevision stop running its ad. Consumers deserve to make informed decisions based on facts, and Cablevision is asking the court to intervene to stop Verizon from attempting to continue to mislead the public."
Since Verizon's Internet and video delivery to the home is all fiber, it may be hard for Cablevision to win with its argument that the telco has lied about the nature of its network. Verizon does use coax like a cable company for in-home networking, but that could perhaps reasonably be considered a separate issue from the all-fiber footprint Verizon maintains outside.
Cablevision noted in a press release that "in certain situations, Verizon has used regular coaxial cable outside the home as well." However, it did not elaborate on the statement with any specifics.
In a separate lawsuit, Cablevision has also argued against Verizon's claims of faster WiFi service, stating that Verizon's routers are no faster than its own. That suit, filed in January, is still pending.
UPDATE: Verizon hit back against Cablevision late yesterday with the following statement: "Once again Cablevision demonstrates an unhealthy appetite for confusing consumers. Cablevision cannot compete with Verizon FiOS, or even come close to providing the Internet speeds and performance available from Verizon's 100% fiber-optic network. Since their network can't compete against FiOS, they resort to legal stunts, which we will challenge vigorously."
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading