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Verizon Scores Cablevision Jewel

While Cablevision Systems Corp. said it isn’t feeling yet feeling the sting from Verizon FiOS TV, Verizon Communications Inc.’s victory in Hempstead, N.Y., Tuesday night -- where it won its largest video franchise yet -- could prove the first big test of cable’s ability to stave off the telco.

Located less than 30 miles from New York, Hempstead’s population is 800,000.

Verizon claims to have already penetrated 23% of pay TV homes in Keller, Texas -- its first FiOS market -- while incumbent Charter Communications Inc. said it has only lost 4% market share.

Hempstead officials cheered the cable competition Tuesday. “Over the years, many residents expressed frustration that cable television was the subject of a monopoly,” supervisor Kate Murray said.

Cablevision said the franchise will allow Verizon to “pick and choose which residents receive its service,” and the MSO argued that the franchise victory demonstrates that a federal franchise law isn’t necessary.