Verizon and Time Warner Cable's fight for subscribers got uglier after Verizon sued Time Warner Wednesday over a TV commercial it claims misrepresents its fiber-optic service. The lawsuit alleged that the latest version of a long-running Time Warner Cable ad mocking a Verizon door-to-door salesman falsely compared Verizon's FiOS service with its own cable offering. Verizon is seeking a permanent injunction barring Time Warner Cable from running the ad, as well as damages and an ad correcting the errors.
"The ad is the one in which they have their snarly looking homeowner and Time Warner customer responding to the overly eager Verizon salesman," said Verizon spokesman Eric Rabe, adding that the company had requested that Time Warner Cable take the ad down but was denied. Time Warner denies any wrongdoing. "We feel the suit is without merit, and we look forward to defending against it in the appropriate venue," said spokesman Alex Dudley.
The suit is the latest in a series of shots fired by cable and telecom companies as they vie for customers. Cable companies kicked off the fight years ago by offering an Internet-based phone service, while phone companies have invested billions in upgrading their networks to offer TV.
Verizon is spending the most by connecting many homes directly to fiber-optic lines, which are much faster than the typical copper lines that run into houses. The service has seen a healthy adoption in areas where FiOS is offered, although it is still unclear whether the investment will pay off.
Both sides have used fiber-optics in their networks for many years, but only recently has fiber been a used as a marketing tool. Verizon said its direct lines to customers' homes allow it to offer a faster connection. Cable companies, however, have been working on improvements to boost their speed.
There are some areas where people can get FiOS Internet and phone service, but not TV, because Verizon lacks the franchised rights that are granted by local government. Verizon partners with DirecTV to sell satellite TV in areas where it doesn't offer video. (info from The Wall Street Journal)