Verizon says could stop offering Hearst TV channels amid price dispute

A man stands next to the logo of Verizon at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

(Reuters) – Verizon Communications Inc indicated on Tuesday it might stop offering channels owned by Hearst Television next year, saying the multimedia company was demanding higher rates to broadcast its channels on the telecommunication giant’s fiber optic networks.

Verizon said Hearst TV, the owner of channels like WBAL-NBC in Baltimore and WGAL-NBC in Harrisburg, was asking for “unreasonably large” rate increases that would increase costs for Verizon FIOS customers.

Hearst Television did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

On January 1, FIOS customers in select markets may be unable to watch their favorite programming, including local news, major live sporting events and other notable entertainment, if the impasse continues.

If the two companies do not reach an agreement, Hearst Television may themselves choose to remove channels from Fios TV, Verizon said.

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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