The push for more competition in Buffalo's cable television market is heating up in part because of the flap prompted by the yanking of Channels 4 and 23 from the Time Warner lineup.
The Common Council will consider legislation Tuesday imploring Verizon to fast-track the expansion of its fiber optic FiOS TV service in the city.
The service already is available to more than 60,000 households in the Town of Tonawanda, the towns and villages of Orchard Park and Hamburg, and parts of Amherst. Verizon has started wiring parts of Buffalo with the FiOS network, but it still must negotiate a franchise agreement with the city.
Staff members in various City Hall offices have reported receiving numerous complaints from Buffalo cable TV subscribers about Time Warner. The most recent rash of calls involve the dispute between the cable provider and LIN TV, the owner of WIVB and CW 23. The two channels have been off Time Warner's lineup for a week, with each side blaming the other for the programming disruptions.
But subscriber complaints came in long before the most recent flap, Delaware Council Member Michael J. LoCurto said. Some viewers were upset when Time Warner dropped the NFL Network last year. Others have complained about rate increases and service-related issues.
Fostering more competition in the local cable TV market would benefit consumers, said LoCurto.
"Time Warner could take half its stations off its lineup, and there's not much viewers could do other than go to a [satellite TV] dish," said LoCurto, who is sponsoring the resolution urging Verizon to make Buffalo a priority market for FiOS.
A New York City-based spokesman for Verizon said the company is gratified to hear some Buffalo officials are eager to see FiOS service launched throughout Buffalo. But John Bonomo said Verizon is not in the position to give even a general time line as to how soon large sections of the city will be wired with fiber optics.