verizon fiosA new Verizon anti-cable ad campaign will tout the benefits of the company’s all-fiber FiOS technology and highlight awards the company has won for its Internet service.

“FiOS is not cable,” says the narrator of a Verizon anti-cable TV spot posted on YouTube. “We’re wired differently.”

Verizon Anti-Cable Ad
Interestingly, the ad does not show customers using their computers or watching FiOS video service. Instead family members are shown looking out a suburban window at something apparently astonishing outside, followed by snippets showing neighbors’ activities such as dog walking and leaf blowing also being interrupted – apparently by the same astonishing sight.

What’s so astonishing?

A stack of oversize trophies representing awards won by cable companies stands side-by-side with a much taller stack of trophies won by Verizon. I didn’t count the trophies, but according to a Verizon press release FiOS has won 52 awards over the past 10 years. In comparison, cable won seven awards over the same period, Verizon says.

Awards that Verizon specifically points to having won include the number one rating in PC Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Survey for Internet speed for 10 years running and the J.D. Power award for highest customer satisfaction among residential Internet service providers in the east region for three years in a row.

“Awards aren’t everything, but when they come from your customers they mean a lot,” says the narrator of the Verizon anti-cable ad.

The ad also calls out FiOS’s ability to support symmetrical service – a capability Verizon believes to be increasingly important as upstream and downstream traffic levels shift and which cablecos cannot easily replicate. The Verizon anti-cable ad also touts a monthly price of $69.95 for 100 Mbps symmetrical data service, television and phone.

Behind the Verizon Anti-Cable Ad
Perhaps the Verizon anti-cable ad campaign is not surprising, considering the current competitive environment. While Verizon and AT&T initially made inroads against cable companies when they introduced high-speed data and advanced video services, the situation has begun to change. Cable companies are gaining ground against AT&T and Verizon as FiOS and AT&T U-verse begin to plateau in existing markets.

Verizon has not been adding new FiOS markets, apparently finding the economics too challenging or finding wireless investment to have a bigger payoff. And while AT&T has been more aggressive in making broadband upgrades, it has more ground to make up, as customer broadband demand begins to outpace what traditional U-verse fiber-to-the-neighborhood technology can support.

The Verizon anti-cable ad campaign also may be motivated, in part, by the potential impending threat from cableco DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades.  For years, cablecos have found it particularly challenging to compete in FiOS markets because of the high broadband speeds that FiOS infrastructure can support. But with DOCSIS 3.1, cablecos will be able to offer higher-speed services more broadly than they have been able to achieve in the past.

The narrator’s final comments in the Verizon anti-cable ad — before moving on to pricing and details of the product package — are particularly telling in this regard. “Only FiOS has the fastest Internet on the most awarded network,” he says.

Depending how cableco DOCSIS 3.1 rollouts play out, and depending how Verizon responds, Verizon may not be comfortable saying flat out that it has the fastest Internet. Hence the emphasis on the awards and hence the wording of the narrator’s pre-closing remarks in the Verizon anti-cable ad.

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