Cablevision fires back; it can't call Verizon a liar, but it can say lots of other mean things about FiOS

Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) continued its communications war with Verizon (NYSE: VZ), releasing a statement clarifying that a court ruling only restricts the MSO from calling Verizon a liar in advertisements. The MSO said it can move forward with boasting all sorts of other superiority claims regarding its Optimum service.

"The temporary order … only applies to the very limited category of anti-FiOS statements that specifically call Verizon FiOS 'liars,' tells 'lies' or the like," said a Cablevision statement. "Cablevision is free to make any other substantiated anti-FiOS statements."

This includes, according to Cablevision, claims like: "FiOS is inferior because it has no public Wi-Fi network of its own; FiOS is inferior because with the FiOS app customers can only watch half of their TV line up; and FiOS is inferior because the Optimum multi-room DVR lets you record 25 percent more shows at once compared to the FiOS DVR."

Asked by FierceCable for comment, Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski said: "From our perspective, an even higher authority -- the federal court -- has spoken. End of story."

Earlier this week, a Long Island federal judge issued Cablevision a temporary restraining order, restricting it from running certain TV ads accusing Verizon of being intentionally untruthful in its comparisons of FiOS and Optimum.

The court battle started in January, when Cablevision sued Verizon for false advertising, then escalated when the MSO sued the wireless company again in May for filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau's National Advertising Division over Cablevision ads. Those suits are now consolidated in a Long Island federal court. 

The suits and this latest inflammatory statement are all part of an intensely competitive battle between Cablevision and Verizon, which share an increasing footprint in the suburban areas outside New York City. 

Emboldened by overall subscriber growth of 5,000 customers in the second quarter, Cablevision CEO James Dolan said at the company's investor call that Verizon is an "unprofitable business" that is having "minimal impact" on his MSO.

"We believe Verizon FiOS is an unprofitable business, and we doubt that they will ever be profitable," Dolan said.

For more:
- read this Cablevision press release

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