Time Warner Cable preps FiOS attack even as it allies with Verizon on contract negotiation rules

The Godfather would be proud: Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) are proving that their ugly spats are "only business."

TWC plans a series of attacks on Verizon's FiOS service even as the two companies ally as part of a group asking federal regulators to change the rules so broadcasters can't cut their signals during contract negotiations. Verizon, of course, is not Caesar's wife; it's already launched a series of ads warning subscribers that TWC, now in negotiations with the Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) over a bevy of cable and broadcast channels, could lose those signals so subs should make the move to FiOS.

Showing, of course, that no matter how nasty things get, it's only business, TWC and Verizon have joined hands with AT&T (NYSE: T), DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV), some cable networks and public interest groups in the American Television Alliance, which, among other things, is launching a website and developing an advertising campaign aimed at getting Congress to push the FCC towards new broadcast-cable negotiation rules. "If a diverse group of competitors can come together to form a coalition like this, it means that something is clearly broken," Time Warner Cable spokesman Alex Dudley told Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Maybe not that clearly. Among the marquee names missing from the coalition: Comcast.

Further muddying the space is that TWC, in reportedly pleasant negotiations with Disney as the Sept. 2 deadline approaches, will relaunch a campaign it used in a dispute with Fox, urging customers to contact and complain to Disney if there's a threat the channels will be dropped.

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