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Verizon FiOS customers to get News 12 newscasts

Verizon FiOS customers will have access to newscasts

Verizon FiOS customers will have access to newscasts and weather reports from News 12 Networks, including meteorologists like News 12 Long Island's Bill Korbel, starting in November, a company announcement said.  Credit: News 12

Verizon FiOS customers will have access to newscasts from News 12 Networks starting in November, executives announced Wednesday.

Previously, News 12 had been provided exclusively to Optimum customers under former owner Cablevision Systems Corp. of Bethpage and, more recently, from Altice USA Inc. of Long Island City, Queens.

The news coverage offered by News 12 has long been a key competitive advantage for Optimum over FiOS, according to securities filings by Cablevision.

News 12 was started in 1986 by Cablevision founder Charles F. Dolan as the cable television industry's first 24-hour local news channel.  

Verizon’s plan to carry News 12 comes less than a month after the company said it would shut down FiOS1 News at midnight on Nov. 15 and provide an alternative 24-hour hyperlocal news channel to its subscribers.

The end of FiOS1 will result in 150 job cuts at RNN News LLC of Rye Brook, which has produced FiOS1 for 10 years.

“We’re all about choice for our customers, and these channel additions bring our customers even more options for robust news and hyperlocal offerings on the FiOS channel lineup,” said Verizon head of content and strategy Erin McPherson.

News 12 will be available to subscribers of FiOS' basic and premium service packages, according to a Verizon spokesman.

In addition to News 12, FiOS subscribers will have access to two additional news channels owned by Altice starting in early 2020: i24NEWS, which focuses on news reports from the Middle East and other parts of the world, and Cheddar, which produces business news reports aimed at young people.

Altice News president Jon Steinberg said on Wednesday that offering News 12 to FiOS customers is part of a plan “to advance Altice as a leader in hyperlocal, national, business and international news.”

Altice spokeswoman Lisa Anselmo added, "We believe that providing this service to as many people as possible is in the best interest of all our communities. And we’re pleased that Verizon recognizes the value of News 12."

Terms of the carriage agreement were not disclosed.

Verizon’s announcement follows the settlement of a lawsuit brought by Charles F. Dolan, his wife and two sons against Altice USA over layoffs at News 12 by Altice since 2016. The settlement was reached last week.

In addition to Long Island, News 12 serves viewers in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Westchester County, the Hudson Valley, Connecticut and New Jersey.

On Tuesday, four members of Congress from Long Island and six from other areas wrote to Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg requesting the continuation of FiOS1 News. "Verizon's plan to replace FiOS1 News will fail to provide the diverse programming that is so critical to our communities," the representatives said.

Asked Wednesday about News 12 coming to FiOS, Rep. Thomas R. Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who signed Tuesday's letter, said, "This arrangement between Verizon and News 12 is a step in the right direction."

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