FiOS Update: Including Why Some Get Two MASNs But Not Two CSNs

I exchanged some more emails with a member of Verizon’s PR staff, as I continue to try to get a better understanding of the issues previously mentioned here, with FiOS customers in some parts of the D.C. area unable to get Comcast SportsNet Plus (CSN+).

What I learned in that email exchange might be helpful to some of you who are trying to understand why you can’t get Caps and Wizards games on CSN+ via FiOS in your area, when a FiOS customer in a neighboring county can. Or why you could get MASN2 on your FiOS channel 1 during baseball season, but can’t get CSN+ now.

If you are a FiOS customer in a part of the D.C. area that gets CSN+, it is shown on your channel 1. For you, that channel is called Fios1. This distinction between Fios1 and channel 1 is key to understanding this whole situation.

For the DC market, FiOS1 is available—according to the CSN Plus Listings on CSNWashington.com—in the following areas: Montgomery County and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland and then Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Loudoun County, Prince William, Spotsylvania County and Stafford County in Virginia.

Now for FiOS customers in someplace like Howard County, you have a channel 1. That channel was carrying MASN2 this summer. But, that channel is now blank for you, most or all of the time, according to one FiOS customer who lives there. Channel 1 for all of these particular FiOS customers is not FiOS1; it is just channel 1 and it does not carry CSN+.

The reason channel 1 carried MASN2 for these FioS customers this summer is, according to Verizon’s PR staff, because “MASN makes MASN2 available as a full-time feed. Comcast does not make CSN+ available as a full-time feed. At this time, [Verizon is] not able to handle a part-time feed like that, so outside of where [Verizon has] FiOS1, [they] cannot offer a part-time channel like CSN+.”

So, the only way FiOS customers in these areas could get CSN+ on FiOS channel 1 would be if either:

1.) Verizon turns Channel 1 into FiOS1 in these locations, like it is in all the locations listed above or 2.) Comcast SportsNet decides at some point to turn CSN+ into a full-time feed like MASN does with MASN2.

As for point number 1, Verizon says that FiOS1 is “a local channel that [Verizon] offers right now in three areas: DC metro, Long Island (New York), and Northern New Jersey. As [FiOS] moves forward, [they’ll] announce any plans to expand the channel.”

People can debate where the DC metro area begins and ends, but for right now, according to the way FiOS defines it with FiOS1, it does not include some areas that are as close as about 20 miles to where the Caps and Wizards play their home games.

If I could get Verizon to answer one question, it would be: What specifically is preventing them from putting FiOS1 on channel 1 right now in these other DC area locations where there is demand for the CSN+ games? That’s the one thing I still have not gotten a clear answer on.

As for option number 2, this would require CSN+ to fill the time outside of games with some type of content. MASN2 did this by airing ESPN News. I have not heard whether or not this is something CSN would consider or even has the capacity to do. I only know that they want to help Verizon find a solution to this problem.

Despite the uncertainties, one things is pretty clear—a lot of people are losing in the current set-up. Caps and Wizards fans are not able to watch approximately a dozen of each team’s games, FiOS risks losing some of these fans to competing cable TV companies, CSN is not having some of their content seen by people who want that content and, finally, the teams whose games aren’t being seen are missing out on some opportunities to reach current and potential fans.

We need a beer summit.

4 thoughts on “FiOS Update: Including Why Some Get Two MASNs But Not Two CSNs

  1. Great info. I’ve been a Caps fan for 20+ years and haven’t been denied the ability to view games anywhere near as I have been the past 2 years with Verizon FiOS.

    I used to live in North Carolina for 5 years and subscribed to NHL Center Ice. I could watch EVERY SINGLE Caps game during that time. A few years ago when I moved back up to Annapolis, I realized I wasn’t able to get many Caps games. I paid around $150 for NHL Center Ice thinking I could get the games that I couldn’t see locally. Low-and-behold all of those games that I couldn’t see were blacked out so I couldn’t watch them on Center Ice. I called Verizon and asked for a refund and they wouldn’t give it to me. (I don’t care about other teams, just the Caps so it was useless to me)

    It is unbelievable how Verizon does not address their customers concerns and add CSN+. Many customers have requested this on Verizon’s forums (http://forums.verizon.com/t5/FiOS-TV-Programming/Comcast-Sportsnet-Plus-DC/m-p/89400), but it just falls on deaf ears.

    If they don’t add support for ComcastSportsNet Plus within the next month or so, I’m going to break my FiOS contract and switch to another provider. I pay $150/mo to Verizon and not being able to watch half the Caps games is totally ridiculous!

  2. Finally some answers that make sense. I guess a duplicating the csn channel as a fulltime csn feed is out of the question for some reason.

  3. Maybe it’s not out of the question. CSN would just need to figure out some way of filling the time and what to fill it with. It would make sense to fill it with a regular CSN feed, but then they probably don’t want duplicate feeds for other live games, and there are probably other issues with various shows since they get a lot of FSN programs. Maybe Verizon could fill in the time with their help channel, I think it’s on 121. That would be like creating a FiOS1 channel until they come up with content for it.
    I don’t know, but both sides need to find a solution here. This is ridiculous.

  4. Pingback: Verizon Fios Frustrating Some Caps Fans in D.C. Area « Mike Holden's blog

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