Hold on to your clunky digital cable boxes Philadelphia, because a good old-fashioned capitalist throwdown is brewing between local cable giant Comcast and its feisty competitor Verizon.
You may remember that Verizon received approval from City Council earlier this year to build a $1 billion FiOS network in the city. According to the company’s franchise agreement with the city, it will fully cover the city in FiOS within seven years with initial service offerings beginning by the end of 2009.
If recent moves by Verizon in the 67th ward are a sign of things to come, Verizon may be challenging the cable giant’s Comcast Network news channel as well.
During a conference call yesterday, Verizon announced the creation of local news-based channels in its New York and Long Island markets to compete with similar offerings by Cablevision. The new channel is slated to feature 10 hours of live news programming each day, and will cover regional high school athletics.
In Philadelphia, such a channel would likely compete directly with local news broadcast and Comcast’s newly retooled Comcast Network.
While Philly is roughly a year behind its neighbor to the north, residents can look at the roll out of FiOS there as a sign of things to come. Although, there Verizon faces two entrenched competitors in Time Warner and Cablevision, while in Philadelphia Comcast is the only major cable provider in town.
If download speeds in other cities are any indication, Verizon FiOS will likely offer faster speeds than Comcast. And to top it off, Verizon isn’t the second most hated company in country.
The company already created a similar locally focused channel in Washington D.C which is roughly on the same roll out schedule as Philadelphia.