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Cablevision, Verizon Still Bickering Over Broadband Claims

Verizon Communications and Cablevision Systems are continuing their war of words over broadband speed claims, with the telco complaining that the MSO's latest ad citing FCC data is misleading.

Cablevision sued Verizon last month over the telco's ads claiming that a Federal Communications Commission study released in August 2011 showed the cable operator delivered "59% or less" of advertised speeds during peak periods. Cablevision argued that more recent data from the agency showed the MSO had greatly improved its relative performance; the companies settled the litigation for undisclosed terms.

Now Cablevision has mounted a marketing counterattack, one of which spoofs Verizon's original "eye-rolling" ads, claiming that "Optimum Online download speeds are actually faster than basic Verizon FiOS."

The MSO's ads cite December data from the ongoing FCC "Measuring Broadband America" research project that indicates Cablevision's 15 Mbps tier delivered higher average speeds over a 24-hour period than the FiOS Internet 15 Mbps downstream service. The new TV spots started airing last Friday, Jan. 6, in the New York market and aired about 30 times over the weekend.

"Surprised? So is Verizon, we'll bet," the narrator says in Cablevision's "eye-popping" ad.

Verizon said in a statement, "Cablevision's latest advertisement grasps at straws and speaks volumes about its state of distress. FiOS Internet is America's fastest, most consistent and most reliable Internet service in the nation."

According to the telco, the ad is misleading because Cablevision is comparing its broadband speed to the FiOS Internet entry-level 15/5 Mbps package and "fails to tell the broader story. Our flagship 25/25, 35/35 and 50/20 Mbps FiOS Internet speeds offered with FiOS Digital Voice and FiOS TV in New York metro race past Cablevision's mainstream [15 Mbps] offer, but our regional rival wouldn't dare to compare that stark contrast."

The two Cablevision ads can be viewed here and here. 

Asked to respond, Cablevision said in a statement, "The new ads simply reflect the most recent SamKnows testing data, which shows Optimum Online download speeds are faster than basic FiOS." The operator offers 15/2, 50/8 and 105/15 Mbps residential broadband services.

SamKnows is the U.K.-based research company the FCC has enlisted to conduct broadband speed testing.

According to Cablevision, SamKnows data from December 2011 shows that the basic level of Optimum Online delivers 126% of its maximum advertised downstream speed of 15 Mbps on a 24-hour basis, and 107% during peak hours of 7 to 11 p.m. weekdays. Cablevision didn't provide stats for how Verizon's 15 Mbps tier performed, and the FCC has not released that data publicly.