LAS VEGAS - Consumers will have a compelling alternative to cable television when Verizon enters the video market later this year with FiOS TV, Ivan Seidenberg, the chairman and CEO of Verizon, told the National Association of Broadcasters today.
"FiOS will change the competitive landscape in the video marketplace, both now and in the future. From Day One, we'll offer a new technology, a new business model and a new customer experience," Seidenberg said.
Speaking at the NAB's national convention, Seidenberg called on broadcasters to help break down "the biggest barrier" to Verizon's entry into video: the requirement that Verizon obtain a second franchise from local authorities, in addition to the one the company already has, to carry video on its fiber networks.
He said the broadcast and communications industries are "natural partners" in exploring new digital technologies that will enhance their relationships with their local customers.
"As technology barriers fall, and we begin to marry the power of broadcasting with the mobility of wireless and the interactivity of the Internet, we'll offer a compelling customer experience that will give you many new ways to reinforce just how important you are in the lives of your audience," he said.
As an example, he noted that Verizon Wireless is the first wireless company in the United States to deliver a true wide-area broadband experience. Verizon Wireless' wireless broadband uses a technology called EV-DO, and the company is expanding its EV-DO network to reach some 150 million people by the end of 2005.
Using EV-DO, Verizon Wireless' new V CAST service delivers mobile segments of network TV shows, movie previews, 3-D games, music videos and sports highlights on wireless handsets.
"We're convinced that, once customers get a taste of this whole new wireless experience, they will see it as every bit as indispensable as their mobile phone service is today," Seidenberg said.
Verizon also is the first communications company to make a major commitment to deliver fiber-optic technology all the way to homes and businesses. The company has deployed its fiber-to-the-premises network in more than 100 communities across its service territory, and it plans to reach a total of 3 million homes by the end of this year. Seidenberg said Verizon will expand its fiber broadband network in the years ahead as fast as the technology and marketplace will allow.
Today, Seidenberg noted, customers served by Verizon's fiber network can sign up for blazing-fast FiOS Internet Service, which delivers speeds up to 30 Mbps (megabits per second) downstream and 5 Mbps upstream. For video, the network will deliver 100 Mbps downstream and up to 15 Mbps upstream, making FiOS the fastest interactive network being deployed in America today.
Seidenberg said the tremendous capacity of Verizon's all-fiber network means that it can carry all kinds of local content and high-definition programming. FiOS TV will offer HDTV and DVR (digital video recorder) functionality on multiple TV sets. Its upstream speeds will give customers multimedia and interactive capabilities such as sharing family videos, video on demand, 3-D gaming and setting camera angles for sporting events.
Seidenberg told the broadcasters that Verizon looks forward to joining with them to explore the creative and commercial possibilities of the digital future. He also said that Verizon is committed to partnering with broadcasters on the policy issues related to Verizon's entry into video.
Citing the requirement that Verizon obtain a franchise from local authorities to provide cable service, Seidenberg noted that, as a local telephone company, Verizon has always had a franchise to deploy and operate its networks. Now, he said, the company is being asked to obtain a second franchise to use these networks to compete in video.
While continuing to negotiate local franchises, he said, Verizon is seeking statewide solutions in some jurisdictions as well as a federal solution to this issue.
"We ask you to lend your persuasive voice in support of clearing away this barrier to video competition and speeding the day when America's communications companies can use our fantastic resources to offer your content and provide a true and compelling alternative to cable," he told the broadcasters.
At the same time, he pledged that Verizon would work with broadcasters to protect intellectual property in a digital universe. In addition, he said, with the tremendous bandwidth of its fiber network and business interest in providing as much content as possible, Verizon will help broadcasters address retransmission issues in ways that expand the market for both the company and the broadcasters.
With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 210,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom serves customers based in 29 states with wireline telecommunications services, including broadband and other services. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 43.8 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.