07.10.2005 12:52 PM
Verizon to carry Turner Broadcast channels

Verizon Communications has signed a deal with a unit of Time Warner, allowing it to carry Turner Broadcasting channels on its fiber optic video service.

The telecommunications company is launching its FiOS video service later this year to compete against cable companies, such as Time Warner and Comcast, which are pushing telephone services.

Verizon said the agreement would allow it to carry several Turner channels, including CNN, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies.

Verizon plans to offer about 300 video and audio channels with about 2000 video-on-demand titles by the time it launches the service next year.

Verizon wants at least 3 million homes and businesses accessible to its fiber optic lines by the end of the year. While connecting customers with fiber optics can cost more than $1000 per building, Verizon said the upgrade was necessary to compete with cable.

In most of the 14 states where Verizon is building fiber optic connections, it needs a franchise from local governments to sell a video service. Verizon said it would likely need thousands of such agreements, but so far have only six and that could delay the rollout.

Last week, two members of Congress introduced bills that would eliminate the need for Verizon and SBC Communications to seek franchises for their video services.

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