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Analysts Like Verizon's FIOS

Analyst Merrill Lynch says it thinks Verizon's FIOS fiber optic Internet/video service is a good investment.

Verizon has been rolling out the service big-time over the past year, lining up franchise deals, including in New York, Texas, Virginia, California, while pushing for a national franchise reform law to make it easier to launch the service.

In its third-quarter estimates for the telecom sector (insert report) Merrill Lynch maintains its "buy" on Verizon as a company, and has some positive things to say about FIOS, calling it a "technologically viable service that should support more than adequate bandwidth for years."

That comes on the heals of a presentation to analysts last week in which Verizon said its FIOS TV service currently passes over 1 million homes, with a goal of 1.8 million by the end of 2006. By 2010, the company projects three-four million video subs and six-seven million data.

Verizon is scheduled to announce its third-quarter results Oct. 30.