WBOC and other Draper TV stations blacked out in contract dispute

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Salisbury University Photo

Verizon’s FiOS system has dropped locallyowned WBOC, FOX21 and WBOC Classics from their lineup after failed contract negotiations.

“Our goal is always to give our customers the best TV experience while keeping prices as low as possible,” Verizon spokesman Chris McCann stated “Despite our best efforts to accomplish that with Draper, they have removed their channels from Fios TV. We remain hopeful they’ll reconsider their initial proposed rate increase of over 175 percent, which is not a good value for our customers.

“We’ve been working hard to reach an agreement for continued carriage with Verizon since March 1 of this year, and frankly were taken by complete surprise over the weekend when Verizon chose to drop our stations rather than continue negotiations,”Craig Jahelka, president of Draper Media wrote in a message.

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“We’d hoped Verizon would recognize the importance of the local news, weather and emergency information we provide to Delmarva and continue to work with us to continue carriage of our local and network programming, Jahelka wrote. “Unfortunately, we’ve been continually frustrated by six months of delay tactics by Verizon and what now appears to be a complete lack of interest by a company that obviously does not seem to care about serving their subscribers or local communities. Regrettably, our viewers who happen to subscribe to Verizon FiOS are the ones who suffer from Verizon’s tactics.”

WBOC and affiliated stations remain available over the air and from other cable and satellite providers in Delmarva.

He suggested calling Verizon 1-800-837-4966 to demand they return the stations to the system.

The FiOS fiber-optic system serves only a small geographic portion of the WBOC market, but does include larger cities and towns such as Dover.

Draper Media is one of one-market television station companies. Its studios are in Salisbury, MD, but it also has bureaus in Dover and Milton.

Verizon has come under fire in other areas for failing to further build out it FiOSfiber-optic system. While not practical in rural areas, the company has not deployed the system in cities like Wilmington, citing excessive demands by the municipality.

There has been speculation that Verizon is poised to expand in the future via its wireless network and antennas placed on houses and businesses. Wilmington-based start-up WhyFly is offering high-speed broadband service in Wilmington and plans to expand to Rehoboth Beach.

Wilmington-based start-up WhyFly is offering high-speed broadband service in Wilmington and plans to expand to Rehoboth Beach. WhyFly appeals to customers who wish to “cut the cord,” by not using cable and buying channels from other sources.

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