January 29, 2015 — BETHPAGE, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC) today is filing a lawsuit in federal court for the Eastern District of New York against Verizon Communications seeking an end to its false, misleading and deceptive advertising claims about WiFi service.
Cablevision issued the following statement related to the lawsuit:
“Verizon’s claim that it has faster WiFi than Cablevision is false, deceptive and designed to mislead consumers. Verizon has no public WiFi 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 WiFi claims just as Cablevision is introducing its all-WiFi Freewheel phone, which will allow consumers to avoid Verizon’s data caps and excessive data overage fees.
This is yet another in a long line of Verizon advertising falsehoods designed to fool the public and we are calling on the court to stop Verizon. Cablevision is taking this legal action so that consumers will no longer be misled and can make informed decisions based on the facts.”
While Verizon does not have a public WiFi hotspot network, Cablevision’s Optimum WiFi network is the nation’s largest WiFi network with 1.1 million tri-state area access points.
Verizon charges $199.99 for its routers, which are limited to in-home use. Cablevision provides its in-home Smart Routers free to customers and it offers both a private WiFi network and a publicly accessible WiFi hotspot. Instead of competing with Cablevision’s premiere level of WiFi service, Verizon has resorted to a false and illegal advertising campaign to mislead consumers.
Verizon has a history of running misleading and inaccurate advertising. In 2014, the National Advertising Division (NAD), which is charged with monitoring and evaluating truth and accuracy in national advertising, recommended that Verizon FiOS discontinue advertising claims for its Internet and television products that suggested improved service by switching to FiOS. The NAD last year also called on Verizon Wireless to discontinue a television commercial regarding strength of its wireless coverage. In both of these instances, Verizon had to make changes to its advertising claims.
Cablevision recently announced plans to launch Freewheel, a low-cost all-WiFi phone service providing unlimited data, talk and text. Freewheel is powered by the Optimum WiFi network and gives consumers access to unlimited data without the high costs imposed by cellular companies.