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Cablevision Sues Verizon Over Internet-Speed Advertisements

Cablevision Systems Corp., the fifth-largest U.S. cable-television provider by subscribers, sued Verizon Communications Inc. for allegedly running an advertising campaign that misrepresents Cablevision’s Internet speeds.

The TV, radio, direct-mail and Internet spots claim that a “just released” Federal Communications Commission study shows Cablevision delivers at most 59 percent of its advertised speeds during peak hours, according to the complaint filed today in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

“The FCC report cited in Verizon’s ads reported the results of speed tests performed in March 2011,” Bethpage, New York-based Cablevision said in its complaint. “Cablevision has made significant upgrades to its broadband network in 2011 that render the March 2011 results obsolete.”

The FCC issued a public announcement that Cablevision’s results in the August report on the March tests are outdated, Cablevision said. Cablevision is asking the court to force Verizon to pull the ads and to award unspecified damages.

Verizon’s ads are based on the FCC’s months-long study of Internet speeds released in August, said Bill Kula, a spokesman for the New York-based company.

“In terms of the accuracy of its advertising, Cablevision was the worst,” Kula said in an e-mailed statement. “Verizon will defend Cablevision’s lawsuit vigorously to ensure that consumers continue to receive truthful information about Cablevision’s misleading Internet speed claims.”

Verizon is the second-biggest U.S. phone company. The case was assigned to a judge in Central Islip, New York.

The case is Cablevision Systems Corp. v. Verizon Communications Inc., 11-cv-5934, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Central Islip).

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