FiOS base grows in tough times

Verizon approaching 2 million subscribers on service

NEW YORK -- Despite the recession, telecom giant Verizon added a record 303,000 net new FiOS TV subscribers during the fourth quarter to end 2008 with 1.9 million.

The video service, which competes with cable and satellite TV providers, grew by nearly 1 million customers last year, the company said Tuesday in its quarterly earnings report. FiOS TV added 226,000 customers during the year-earlier quarter.

Verizon also added a record 282,000 net new FiOS broadband users during the latest quarter, compared with 244,000 during the year-earlier period. That brought the company's broadband customer base to nearly 2.5 million, also a gain of nearly 1 million in 2008.

Broadband and video revenue from Verizon consumers totaled nearly $1.2 billion during the fourth quarter, up 42% from the year-earlier period.

"We're clearly building momentum and gaining critical mass," CFO Doreen Toben said, adding that the recent launch of FiOS TV in New York has contributed to its success.

Nonetheless, management admitted that the company's outlook remains clouded during the recession.