Cablevision Sues to Halt Verizon Ads Claiming Fastest WiFi

Cablevision Systems Corp. accused Verizon Communications Inc. of falsely advertising that it offers the fastest WiFi connections, asking a judge to block the marketing campaign.

Verizon is falsely claiming over the Internet and in multiple television and radio commercials that it has “the fastest WiFi available,” even though Cablevision previously began offering the same type of router providing greater speed, Cablevision said in a lawsuit filed Thursday.

The claim of superior speed “is deliberately designed to undercut Cablevision’s competitive WiFi advantage in the marketplace,” the Bethpage, New York-based cable provider said in the complaint. The campaign is “likely to interfere with Cablevision’s impending roll out of a new WiFi-only voice, text and data service,” it said.

The companies, direct competitors in the market for New York-area Internet customers, have sparred before in court over advertising claims about speed. In 2011, they settled an earlier lawsuit filed by Cablevision alleging Verizon used an outdated Federal Communications Commission study to misrepresent its Internet performance.

The TV, radio, direct-mail and Internet spots running in the New York area claimed that a “just released” FCC study showed Cablevision delivered at most 59 percent of its advertised speeds during peak hours, the country’s fifth-largest cable operator alleged in the earlier suit. The tests were performed in March of that year, before some upgrades, Cablevision alleged at the time.

John Bonomo, a spokesman for New York-based Verizon, said Thursday in an e-mailed statement that the new lawsuit is “a boldface ploy to promote Cablevision’s latest wireless gambit.”

Bonomo said his company hadn’t seen the lawsuit in federal court in Central Islip, New York.

The case is Cablevision Systems Corp. v. Verizon Communications Inc., 2:15-cv-00456, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Central Islip).

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