Verizon Files FCC Complaint Against Cablevision


Verizon has filed a program-access complaint with the FCC to try and force Cablevision to negotiate a carriage agreement so that Verizon's FiOS TV multichannel video service can carry what it says are various Cablevision-controlled sports channels in New York and New England.

Verizon wants to carry the Rainbow Media nets in Massapequa Park, Nyack and South Nyack, N.Y.; and Reading and Woburn, in Mass., as well as more than 100 New York communities where it is seeking franchises.

Verizon points out that Cablevision is both the incumbent cable operator in many of those communities and controls the sports nets, which include Fox Sports Network New York, Fox Sports Network New England and Madison Square Garden Network. Verizon argues that Cablevision has not negotiated a strategy to avoid competition from its FiOS franchises.

We are in discussions with Verizon and their own spokesperson recently acknowledged these negotiations 'can take a while,' said Rainbow Media spokesman Whit Clay. "It would be more productive for Verizon to negotiate with us than file complaints and issue press releases.”

In hearings on Capitol Hill last month, Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge disputed Verizon's claims of aggressively seeking franchises, saying: "Verizon has been building these networks and planning them for over three years and yet didn’t ask for the franchises."