Verizon Opens For Business With IPTV - InformationWeek

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Verizon Opens For Business With IPTV

The move marks the start of the telecommunication company's head-to-head competition with cable and satellite TV operators.

Verizon Communications Inc. on Thursday started selling its Internet TV service, marking the start of the telecommunication company's head-to-head competition with cable and satellite TV operators.

New York-based Verizon opened for business first in Keller, Texas, a city 30 miles west of Dallas, and plans to gradually expand into other cities.

Verizon is the first of the big four telecommunications companies to make a major launch of Internet-based television, called IPTV. Verizon is building ultra-fast fiber connections to homes in half of the 29 states where it offers telephone service.

Called Fios TV, the service offers more than 180 digital video and music channels for $39.95 a month, Verizon said. More than 20 of the channels are in high definition.

In addition, the company is offering 600 video-on-demand titles and plans to expand the offering to 1,800 titles by the end of the year. Verizon's biggest content providers include Showtime Networks Inc., NBC Universal Cable and A&E Television Networks.

Later this year, Verizon plans to offer IPTV in Wylie, Sachse and Westlake, Texas. It will then expand the service into cities in Florida, Virginia and California, where the company has already obtained video franchises. Verizon is seeking franchises from government officials in other cities.

Verizon is not alone among telecoms entering the IPTV market. Atlanta-based SBC Communications Inc. plans to begin offering higher-speed connections to the home for delivering digital TV in the first quarter of next year, with plans to reach 18 million households by the end of 2007.

Qwest Communications International Inc. of Denver also plans to enter the IPTV market, while BellSouth Corp. has yet to announce its plans.

Cable operators have forced telephone companies to charge into the television market by offering Internet telephony over their high-speed networks, as well as broadband and television, a so-called "triple play." Telephone companies hope to offer the same bundle, as well as cellular phone services.

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