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Big Apple Showdown

August 14, 2006 2:49 PM

Today Verizon is addressing the City Council of New York about its plans to offer television service in the nation’s largest city. Already incumbents Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems are making noises, saying that while they both welcome competition, it’s got to be a level playing field.

What that really means is that cable does not want Verizon to cherry-pick the most affluent neighborhoods like it has been accused of doing in Long Island, N.Y., and areas in Massachusetts. And judging from a New York Times article today, Verizon is going to spend a ton to capture the Big Apple.

The phone company is now upgrading its network in the Bronx, of all places. That’s a smart and expensive move for Verizon to make on the eve of its franchise approval meetings for New York City, which I predict will drag on for months. But the big question is whether Verizon will, given the staggering costs, be able to compete with two long-established cable companies? I doubt it.

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