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Verizon Fights Back Against Cable

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NEW YORK Verizon escalated the war of words between cable firms and telecoms on Thursday by launching a TV campaign touting its always-on reliability.

Two TV spots from Interpublic Group's DraftFCB, New York, feature testimonials from Verizon users. "It's on whenever I feel like gossiping," says one woman. "It's on whenever I want to talk to my buddies," states a twenty-something guy.

Others talk about how the phone works even when there's a big storm or the power goes out. A voiceover narration points out that Verizon handles 1.2 billion calls a day with a 99.99 percent accuracy rate. "Now there's something cable can't say."

Verizon rep Ellen Yu said the company has sat back while cable companies have run ads attacking phone companies like Verizon for being comparatively expensive. "What better way to fight back against cable companies' price play than to stress quality?" said Yu. "After all, what is price without value?"

The new ads also for the first time use Verizon Wireless' tagline "It's the network." Yu said that was an indication that Verizon and Verizon Wireless' marketing communications are becoming less separate. The two units have operated independently in the past.

The effort comes as cable firms have made a play for the voice-call market. In recent years, such firms have lured more than eight million residential customers away from telecoms for voice calls. Verizon's not the first telecom to fight back. Last year, AT&T also ran ads touting its networks' always-on service.