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Verizon Inks Content Pacts In Advance of IPTV Launch

Verizon Communications Inc. on Friday unveiled additional programming for the launch of its TV network later this year, a small step toward the telecommunications company's head-to-head competition with cable and satellite TV operators.

Under the latest agreements, the New York-based company's Fios TV would carry programming from the Varsity TV, the Gospel Music Channel, MavTV, GolTV and the Soundtrack Channel. The announcement follows on the heels of a far bigger agreement unveiled earlier this week in which Verizon said it would carry 11 channels from Showtime Networks Inc., including the Movie Channel, Showtime and Flix brands, plus high-definition and video-on-demand programming.

Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Verizon is expected to be the first of the big four telecommunications companies to make a major launch of Internet-based television, called IPTV. Verizon is building ultra-fast fiber connections to homes in half of the 29 states where it offers telephone service, and plans to reach 3 million homes when it launches its TV service.

Atlanta-based SBC Communications Inc. plans to begin offering higher-speed connections to the home for delivering digital TV in the first quarter of next year, with plans to reach 18 million households by the end of 2007.

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