Cablevision sues Verizon over commercial targeting FiOS

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cablevision Systems Corp sued Verizon Communications Inc on Tuesday, seeking a judge's finding that its television commercial claiming Verizon's FiOS service does not solely use fiber optic cable is truthful.

The lawsuit came after Verizon in April launched a proceeding before the Better Business Bureaus' National Advertising Division challenging the commercial, which claims Verizon's "100% fiber optics" service actually uses regular cable in the home.

In its lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, Cablevision said Verizon sought to create a "public misconception" that would distinguish its FiOS cable TV and Internet service from Cablevision's Optimum Online.

"Consumers deserve to make informed decisions based on facts, and Cablevision is asking the court to intervene to stop Verizon from attempting to continue to mislead the public," the company said in a statement.

Alberto Canal, a Verizon spokesman, said the lawsuit demonstrated Cablevision's "appetite for confusing consumers," and reasserted that Verizon's FiOS service operated on a 100 percent fiber-optic network.

"Since their network can't compete against FiOS, they resort to legal stunts, which we will challenge vigorously," he said.

In its lawsuit, Cablevision said that, while Verizon advertises FiOS as relying only on fiber optic cable, the company almost always uses regular cable to deliver the service inside homes and to connect to cable modems and television set-top boxes.

Cablevision said that was why it ran a commercial in which a voice-over reads: "Verizon claims they're all fiber optic. True or false? The answer is false."

The commercial added: "Verizon still actually uses regular cable in the home."

In the National Advertising Division proceeding, Verizon is seeking an order directing Cablevision to cease making its advertising claim, the lawsuit said. Cablevision said, however, it will not voluntarily submit to that body's review.

Tuesday's lawsuit was the latest between the two companies.

In January, Cablevision sued Verizon in federal court in Central Islip, New York, for falsely advertising that its WiFi service is the fastest available. The lawsuit is pending.

The case is Cablevision Systems Corp v. Verizon Communications Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 15-03859.

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