Verizon hints at a la carte for FiOS TV in 2011

Verizon is considering offering viewers a la carte options on its FiOS TV service, giving them the ability to choose broadband connection speeds and TV programming, as it looks for ways to continue to grab market share from lagging cable competitors, and to mitigate the challenges from over-the-top delivery choices like Roku, Boxee and Apple TV.

Verizon's base FiOS TV package currently is 180 channels and a 15 megabits-per-second Internet connection. But Bob Midge, who recently was named head of the company's FiOS initiative, said a new plan would give customers a choice of channels and the ability to get the fastest Internet connection it offers.

Mudge said the a la carte option for broadband speed would roll out before a la carte content offerings, but he declined to be more specific or to talk price.

"I do believe the issue of a-la-carte content is an issue that will be growing," Mudge told Reuters, adding "I don't see urgency (for a-la-carte programming) in the front half of 2011."

Verizon's CEO Ivan Seidenberg has expressed his belief that over-the-top video delivery is a major concern for pay-TV operators, and has pushed Verizon to be open to the changes in the industry.

"We take the over the top issue with video very seriously," he said during a presentation at Goldman Sach's Communicopia in September. "I think cable has some life left in its model... but that it is going to get disintermediated over the next several years.

The company says it's intent on delivering live TV to tablets like Apple's iPad, which it demonstrated in August.

Mudge reiterated Verizon's interest in pushing to expand Verizon's mobile video offerings, including an app for tablets in the first quarter. He said live broadcasting to tablets likely won't occur until deals were made with broadcasters, perhaps by the middle of 2011.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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