Verizon Touts Fiber Growth - Broadcasting & Cable

Verizon Touts Fiber Growth

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Verizon's FiOS fiber-optic network is now delivering high-speed data service to one million customers and will soon be providing TV service to half a million customers, Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg announced during a keynote address Wednesday at the Nxtcomm trade show in Chicago.

"We're closing in quickly on 500,000 TV customers," said Seidenberg, who then cued up a video showing the one-millionth FiOS customer, the Bayer family of Massapequa, N.Y., extolling the virtues of the Verizon service. The Bayer's hometown falls within the territory of cable operator Cablevision, and is one of several New York communities where Verizon is heavily marketing its FiOS TV television service after securing video franchise agreements.

Verizon is trialing a 100 megabit-per-second data service that it will begin rolling out this fall with bandwidth hogging video downloads in mind, and Seidenberg said that video should be a major driver of future growth both for its FiOS service and for Verizon Wireless. High-definition video will place greater demand on broadband networks, he said, and some 44% of cellphone owners already use their handsets for video and data applications in addition to voice service.

In a subsequent press briefing, Seidenberg said he was pleased with the initial response to V Cast Mobile TV, the broadcast mobile TVservice based on Qualcomm's MediaFLO network that Verizon began marketing in March. He said most customers signing up for the $15-a-month, 8-channel V Cast Mobile TV service are adding a robust data package, which makes them very attractive customers.

"The ARPU [average revenue per unit] on those customers is much higher than our embedded customer base," said Seidenberg.

V Cast Mobile TV should be available in 40 markets by the end of July, said Seidenberg, and some 120 cities by year-end. He said that so far consumers are happy with the programming choices, which include a mix of simulcast, time-shifted and original content from programmers such as NBC, CBS and ESPN.

"There were doubters as to whether people will watch a small screen. I'll tell you that people will absolutely watch the small screen."

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