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Verizon FIOS gears up for TV service

Verizon Communications has announced that it will add content from Walt Disney and its subsidiaries to a growing list of channels for its new FIOS television service, which the carrier expects to begin rolling out in the next few weeks.

Media conglomerate News Corp. is close to setting a deal to provide programming to Verizon Communications, News Corp.’s chief executive Rupert Murdoch said last week.

Under the Disney agreement, made public last week and reported by CNET News, Verizon will offer customers of its FIOS broadband-over-fiber television service 12 more channels of Disney content, including various ABC, Disney, and ESPN-branded ones, as well as Soapnet. Verizon will also be granted retransmission consent from television stations that ABC owns and operates.

Verizon has been busy over the past six months racking up content deals before the launch of its FIOS television service. CNET reported that it already has agreements with Showtime Networks, A&E Television Networks, NBC Universal Cable, Starz Entertainment Group, Discovery Networks and Movielink, which will offer on-demand movie downloads. The company said it plans to offer customers more than 300 channels of video and audio content.

Verizon’s FIOS will host the television service as part of its triple play offering, which will include voice, video and data services. The fiber network is being built in half the states where Verizon’s landline telephone service is available. It will provide more bandwidth than is available over Verizon’s existing copper-based network, according to the company.

TV service will begin in some regions within the next two weeks, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg said last week. Verizon has obtained franchise agreements in Texas, California, Florida and Virginia.

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