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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 22, 2013

Verizon Works on FiOS TV Penetration with Massachusetts Expansion

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Verizon (News - Alert) Communications may have stopped building out its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network in the interest of boosting margins, but it continues to grow penetration in its existing base of passed homes. The telco for instance is turning up its FiOS (News - Alert) TV service Raynham, Massachusetts, taking on incumbent Comcast with more than 590 total channels and more than 160 high-definition networks.

"Consumers and small businesses in Raynham, at long last, have a better choice for TV," said Angie Klein, vice president of consumer and mass business markets for Verizon. "We've had great success in FiOS communities throughout Massachusetts. Now it's time to bring FiOS TV to Raynham and provide customers a choice that is truly different from the cable TV company.”

Town selectmen signed a local franchise agreement with Verizon on Oct. 8. The TV addition gives Verizon the FiOS triple play of TV, Internet and unlimited voice services to offer to homes and businesses in Raynham. Pricing starts at $89.99 per month for two years for consumers.

Expansions within its footprint to towns like Raynham has been a decent strategy for the carrier. Verizon's third-quarter results showed that its FiOS business picked up a net 135,000 video subscribers – the second quarter in a row it has boosted its net additions from the year earlier. It now has 35% penetration of its market, which passes 18.3 million premises. Overall, the IPTV provider has 5.2 million subscribers and is the No 5 pay-TV distributor, after Comcast, DirecTV (News - Alert), DISH and Time Warner Cable.

"Our advanced 100 percent fiber-optic network was built for HD,” Klein said. “With all-fiber connections running straight to their homes, viewers get both high-definition and standard TV that is eye-popping."

In terms of block-and-tackle moves vis a vis Comcast, she added that multiscreen is part of the package too with Flex View and FiOS TV Online, which is essentially a competitive requirement given the rival operator’s TV Everywhere initiatives. Flex View allows FiOS TV customers to rent or purchase more than 50,000 movie titles and watch them on their TV, online and on a growing number of mobile devices including smartphones and tablets. FiOS TV Online offers online access to a variety of programming on tablets and smartphones from HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, EPIX, TBS, TNT, truTV, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV as well as live streaming from NFL Network and NFL Red Zone, CNN, ESPN (News - Alert), NBA League Pass and the Longhorn Network.

Customers can also access their FiOS TV DVRs remotely from a PC or select mobile devices with the MY FiOS app, which also provides access to everything from movies, TV shows and personal content to billing, account management and customer service tools. All FiOS TV customers also have access to the FiOS Mobile app, which enables live viewing of up to nine national TV channels from anywhere and 77 live channels from inside the home on almost any device.

For small businesses in Raynham, Verizon is offering the Solutions Bundle with FiOS TV, Internet and unlimited nationwide calling. Included in the small-business bundle are Verizon Internet Security Suite and Online Backup. Small businesses also get free Google (News - Alert) Apps for three accounts and discounts to nationally known brands like Office Depot and FedEx.

FiOS revenue (TV and broadband) rose 13.4% to $2.8 billion during the third quarter, which drove consumer wireline revenue up 4.3% to $3.7 billion. Consumer ARPU was up 8.7% year-over-year.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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