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Fiber fury in Manatee County

An ongoing scuffle between cable company Bright House Networks and Verizon Communications is starting to get ugly. As the Sarasota Herald Tribune reports, a series of incidents has intensified a fight between the two companies over who gets to serve residents cable TV. Bright House is currently the region's cable provider, but Verizon is trying to build out its fiber optic service called FiOs, which includes cable TV programming.

After a Verizon contractor sliced through two of Bright House's fiber optic cables, blacking out about 550 customers, the two companies have begun sparring in a war of words. Bright House claims Verizon is treading on its turf, and has turned to the local government to block Verizon's entry into cable TV. Verizon slapped back with some name calling of its own, labeling Bright House as "panicked" over the phone giant's ambitions.

Verizon and its Baby Bell cousin SBC Communications are going full throttle into becoming cable TV providers. Over the next few months, it will be interesting to see how the Bells navigate through the red tape of securing local franchising agreements.