Verizon's FiOS TV Hits 1 Million Mark

Competing cable operators say Verizon's telco TV offering is peeling away customers. The company said Monday it now has more than 1 million subscribers--after less than three years on the market.

Verizon's FiOS service crossed the 1 million subscriber mark this month, after finishing 2007 with 943,000 customers. The service--which has received increasing marketing support in some regions--has a penetration rate of about 16%, based on its availability in some 5.9 million homes at the end of last year.

With some 1 million customers, Verizon can be included among the top 10 MSOs, according to figures from the cable industry trade group.

The service launched in September 2005 and has rolled out more rapidly and picked up considerably more customers than the other telco TV offering, AT&T's U-Verse.

The two legacy phone companies launched their respective services in order to offer bundled packages of TV, Internet and phone services (including mobile), as cable operators encroached on their turf with phone and Internet services of their own, available as part of what they call a "triple-play" package.

Verizon could pass top-10 cable operators--such as Mediacom and Insight--in subscribers some time in the next six months if it maintains a growth rate that added 226,000 customers over the last three months of 2007. (Verizon also offers TV service from DirecTV to some of its customers.) FiOS is available in parts of 13 states.

Verizon recently took a page from DirecTV's book, looking to establish itself as a leading provider of HD programming. DirecTV spent 2007 touting the availability of 100 HD channels by this month, but fell about 11 short. Verizon has pledged to have 150 by January 2009.

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