Cablevision to Verizon: Get your false ads off the air

Cablevision sues Verizon for bashing the cable company in its Fios commercials, claiming that Verizon was using outdated data.

The pay-TV war between Cablevision and Verizon Communications just got a little uglier.

Cablevision came out swinging, filing a lawsuit yesterday in a New York court, alleging that Verizon was using old Federal Communications Commission data to bash its Internet service in its Fios commercials. The two have been tussling fiercely ever since Verizon introduced Fios to the New York area, in a direct assault on Cablevision's market. Despite the newer service, Cablevision has been able to hold its own against the new entrant.

The competition has been brutal. In television, radio, mail, and online spots, Verizon claims that Cablevision delivers only 59 percent of its advertised speeds during busy hours.

Cablevision, however, is arguing that an updated FCC study has found dramatic improvement in the company's service, delivering higher than 90 percent of its advertised speeds.

"We are pleased to note that the performance of one company--Cablevision--markedly improved from earlier this year," the FCC said in a blog posting on Monday.

With the 59 percent claim no longer valid, Cablevision moved swiftly to take legal action. Bloomberg earlier reported on the lawsuit.

"Despite extensive communication between Cablevision and Verizon, and Verizon's knowledge that the advertising is false, the phone company has continued its campaign on television, radio, print, in direct mail, and on its Web site," the company said in a statement. "The complaint contends that in doing so, Verizon is knowingly misleading consumers."

Verizon, meanwhile, vowed to fight the lawsuit.

"In terms of the accuracy of its advertising, Cablevision was the worst," a Verizon spokesman said in a statement. "Verizon will defend Cablevision's lawsuit vigorously to ensure that consumers continue to receive truthful information about Cablevision's misleading Internet speed claims."

Cablevision noted that the National Advertising Division had last week told Verizon to stop laying claim to the best picture quality because that hadn't been supported by evidence.