Mouse Signs FiOS Deal


Verizon’s FiOS TV service will carry 12 channels owned by The Walt Disney Co., according to a deal announced Wednesday.

In announcing the deal, the two companies emphasized a common commitment to battling piracy.

The FiOS TV service is Verizon’s entry into the video market. It aims to compete directly with cable and DBS providers. The company is expected to announce in the coming days that a test of the service in Keller, Texas, will be launched tomorrow (Sept. 22) as a commercial service, according to a Verizon spokesperson.

Under the agreement, FiOS’ expanded basic service will feature ABC Family, ABC News Now, Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD, Toon Disney and SOAPnet.

Disney also gave Verizon permission to carry the 12 ABC stations it owns. FiOS will use Disney-related broadband, pay-per-view, Spanish-language programming, and VOD offerings.

Verizon currently has franchise agreements for video service in  Beaumont and Murietta, Calif.; Temple Terrace and Manatee County, Fla.; and in several cities in the Washington, DC area. Verizon also has a franchise agreement in Texas encompassing about 30 cities of significant size where the company has deployed fiber.

The telco is courting about 250 cities and towns, and is close to finalizing franchises in Fairfax County, Va. and Long Island's Massapequa, N.Y.
The deal announced Wednesday included an understanding that Disney and Verizon will work together to battle piracy in FiOS’ subscriber base.

Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon, called the agreement “a significant step forward in the effort toward inter-industry cooperation in addressing the serious problem of copyright infringement over the Internet.”