Verizon To Offer Starz Movies Over IP - InformationWeek

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Verizon To Offer Starz Movies Over IP

Will provide movies over Verizon's Fios, Verizon's fiber-optic broadband Internet service.

Verizon Communications announced an agreement with Starz Entertainment Group to provide movies over Verizon's Fios TV fiber optical channel. Fios is Verizon's fiber-optic broadband Internet service.

The measure brings Verizon closer to head-to-head competition with cable networks as the latter continue to aggressively offer telephone service.

"Verizon Fios TV will offer customers a competitive alternative to cable or satellite," Verizon stated in a press release Friday. "In addition to video on demand, Fios TV will deliver hundreds of digital video channels, high-definition programming, music channels, an interactive programming guide, and other customer-friendly features." Fios TV's fiber-to-the-premises service is scheduled to begin later this year.

The announcement builds on an earlier deal Verizon made with Discovery Communications for the distribution of Discovery's 14 U.S.-based networks. While the agreement with Starz is Verizon's first with a premium pay-TV provider, the telephone company said it is negotiating with other premium networks.

Verizon is offering three tiers of its Fios Internet service. The 5 Mbps downstream service is $39.95 a month, 15 Mbps, $49.95; and 30 Mbps, $199.95. Prices are slightly lower when services are purchased in a bundle.

Verizon is inaugurating Fios in the Dallas/Fort Worth market, bearding the SBC Communications lion in its Texas den. SBC, too, is rolling out TV service over its fiber optical lines. SBC has said it plans to offer TV service to 18 million homes in its 13-state territory.

As for competition with cable providers, they are continuing to make inroads in offering telephone service to their customers. This week, for instance, Comcast said it will begin rolling out a $40-a-month Internet service with unlimited calls in the Boston area.

Comcast has experienced a spate of intermittent Internet service outages over the last week, irritating some customers.

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