Verizon lures SMBs to Fios with tailored Current TV plan

Verizon sign from MWCA
Verizon has launched a new video service tailored to the unique needs of SMBs. (Image: Verizon)

Verizon has launched a new video tier tailored for specific industry segments as part of an effort to compete with cable in the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) category in regions where it offers Fios. 

The new package, Fios Current TV, will offer content that is tailored for businesses such as health clinics, consulting firms, restaurants, health clubs, bars, and cafes. Verizon’s plan will also offer a tailored suite of news programming.

Delivered over Verizon’s fiber-optic network, the programming lineup will cover the latest local, national and international news.

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Eligible SMB customers have two pricing options: $40 without a contract, or $30 per month with a two-year agreement. Additionally, Verizon is offering Current TV for $25 per month for customers ordering a triple-play bundle with a two-year agreement.

“We’ve tailored and priced this plan so that small and medium businesses can enjoy the channels they want the most,” said Martin Burvill, president of Verizon Business Markets, in a release.

With the Current TV plan, customers will have access to over 45 unique channels (20+ HD) including news programming from cable networks such as Fox News Channel and CNN, as well as network affiliate news channels including CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox.

While Fios video subscriber numbers have continued to drop, Verizon can use this promotion to play up the local value where it has built out fiber network infrastructure to stay on a competitive footing with cable providers.

As it penetrates more of its existing market, Verizon’s Fios growth may be leveling off. Third-quarter Fios revenue grew 4.8% year over year, but Verizon added just 66,000 new Fios internet subscribers while losing 18,000 Fios video customers.

Matt Ellis, CFO of Verizon, told investors during the recent UBS 45th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference that “where we have Fios we compete very effectively in that marketplace.”

Comcast, which has been aggressively pursuing SMBs, has gained the upper hand over Verizon, particularly in areas where the telco only offers copper-based services with DOCSIS 3.1 near-gigabit broadband speeds and targeted programming.

The cable MSO’s Business Internet 1 Gbps service is already available in much of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Central United States, and will be available to the entire national Comcast service area by the end of 2017.