Cablevision engages Verizon in 'word war'

US giants Cablevision and Verizon are turning their competition for subscribers into a war of words, with each boasting it has the best network in advertising campaigns, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report said the cable operator and phone company are going head-to-head in the New York metropolitan area, where Verizon is building out a fiber-optic network to offer high-speed Internet and video services alongside phone services.

Cablevision says in recent television advertisements that it has the 'nation's most advanced fiber-optic network,' the Reuters report said.

But Verizon, which started making the same claim a year ago, said Cablevision's statement was unsubstantiated, the report also said.

The Reuters report said Cablevision has been one of the most successful US cable companies in winning phone customers by offering so-called triple-play phone, video and Internet packages. It has signed up 1.2 million phone customers in its New York territory. Up to 78% of its 3.1 million customers take digital video, the report said.

Verizon hopes its service, called FiOS, will help the company fight back, the report added.
The company does not provide data by state; but nationwide, it had 207,000 FiOS video customers at the end of 2006.

The Reuters report meanwhile quoted Craig Moffett, a cable and satellite analyst at Bernstein, as saying that it was difficult to say which service was superior.