Cablevision loses court ruling to Verizon, judge orders MSO to pull Optimum/FiOS ads

Verizon is claiming victory in a legal dispute over Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) ads that claim the cable company's Optimum service is superior to the telco's FiOS product.

According to court documents obtained by Verizon (NYSE: VZ), a Long Island Federal Judge issued a restraining order stopping Cablevision TV commercials in the New York metropolitan area claiming that Verizon's FiOS service partially relies on cable to deliver video and Internet into residences.

"Cablevision has been running a series of Optimum TV and print ads that call into question Verizon's advanced fiber-optics network, FiOS' Internet speeds, the quality of our DVR, service appointments, and more," said Verizon spokesman John Bonomo in a company blog posting. "The problem is their contentions are both off-base and off-the wall. We told them to stop the nonsense, but they would not listen, so we had to ask a judge to help Cablevision separate fact from fiction."

Responding to FierceCable's inquiry, Cablevision spokeswoman Lisa Anselmo released the following statement: "Verizon continues its efforts to block Cablevision from setting the record straight and we will challenge Verizon's claims, not only through the legal system but also in the court of public opinion."

Cablevision also said it could continue to advertise that the Optimum Wi-Fi network "is a better data network than Verizon's service, and that the Optimum WiFi network offers a faster experience than cellular." 

Cablevision originally filed a lawsuit in January, alleging that Verizon ads claiming that FiOS delivers "the fastest Wi-Fi available" from any local provider amounted to false advertising. In May, Cablevision filed a separate suit against Verizon in a Manhattan federal court, defending a Cablevision TV commercial that claims Verizon's FiOS service partially relies on cable to deliver video and Internet into residences. 

Verizon had complained to the Better Business Bureau's National Advertising Division, which challenged Cablevision's assertion that FiOS actually uses cable and is not "100 percent fiber."

In June, Verizon combined the two legal actions in the Long Island court. 

"Verizon's claim that it has faster Wi-Fi than Cablevision is false, deceptive and designed to mislead consumers," a Cablevision statement released in January said. "Verizon has no public Wi-Fi network. In addition, Verizon's in-home routers are not faster than Optimum Smart Routers and cost Verizon customers hundreds of dollars while Optimum's are free. It is not a coincidence that Verizon is making false Wi-Fi claims just as Cablevision is introducing its all-Wi-Fi Freewheel phone, which will allow consumers to avoid Verizon's data caps and excessive data overage fees."

For more:
- read this Verizon press release
- read this Cablevision blog post

Related articles:
Cablevision sues Verizon alleging deceptive advertising claims about Wi-Fi superiority
Cablevision sues Verizon over FiOS ad
Nothing's over! Cablevision merely combining false ad suits against Verizon, not dropping claims

Updated: This story was updated on August 11, 2015 to include a statement from Cablevision.

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