A study by US research firm OneTrak shows that Verizon’s FIOS TV service is hurting both DTH services and overbuilders. Initial results from research in 34 Massachusetts cities and towns after the introduction of the IPTV services suggest three trends: 1) Initial incumbent cable subscriber losses can exceed 10%; 2) Traditional overbuilders, such as RCN (a local operator), can take a disproportionate hit, effectively insulating the incumbent cable provider and 3) As many as 40% of FiOS TV subscribers could well be coming from DBS. The survey covered a combined 285,000 homes passed. Comcast is the incumbent cable operator in all 34 cities, while RCN Corp. provides service in nine of those communities.
The subscriber statistics for all three companies, as of Dec. 31, 2006, were recently made public by the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable, which requires all cable operators in the state to file year-end subscriber count figures by municipality. Verizon spent much of the spring asking the state to withhold its subscriber counts from the public. Only in the past month did the state rule that Verizon’s numbers would be publicly available, just as year-end subscriber counts for all cable operators are made public.