Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Good News for the Cable Guys: Verizon Stops TV Push

Waiting for Verizon to start competing with your cable company for your TV dollars? You may be out of luck: The telco has stopped rolling out its Fios TV service in new cities.

Verizon (VZ) quietly announced last week that it was done seeking out new markets for Fios, which means that cities like Boston, Baltimore and Alexandria, Va., won’t ever get access to the service. But the company will continue to expand its footprint in cities it’s already in, like New York.

The telco says it had always planned on winding down its expansion after spending $23 billion to upgrade its network. But its competitors are certainly treating this as a victory, and the halt will fuel speculation that Verizon will end up buying satellite broadcaster DirectTV (DTV) in order to compete with cable guys like Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) coast-to-coast.

More from The Wall Street Journal:

FiOS is Verizon’s counter to the cable companies’ Internet phone service, which has been successful in nabbing away telco customers. Despite FiOS’s presence, cable providers such as Cablevision Systems Corp. have weathered the competitive storm. The other telcos have also been upgrading their networks to deliver more services, but they haven’t been as aggressive…

For Verizon, it’s still unclear whether the bet will pay off. Mr. Kula said that in markets that FiOS is available, it has achieved 25% penetration for television service and 28% for Internet.

Growth in FiOS appears to be slowing. In the fourth quarter, Verizon added 153,000 customers each for FiOS Internet and TV, which was down sequentially and from a year ago. In total, the company has 3.4 million FiOS Internet and 2.9 million TV subscribers.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald