Verizon said it will cease broadcasting analog channels on its FiOS TV service.

Verizon is making the move in advance of the federal mandate to phase out analog television broadcasts in February 2009. The telco said that by eliminating analog signals now, it will avoid customer confusion later.

In fact, Verizon had cut a deal with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to cease analog transmission prior to the 2009 date in exchange for a waiver exempting it from the ban on set-top boxes (STBs) with integrated security, which was put into effect in July.

Some FiOS customers elect to receive video service without a STB, and therefore they can see only the analog channels.

As Verizon phases out the transmission of all analog channels, on a region-by-region basis, it will provide a STB to all FiOS customers who lack one for no additional fee.

The company will use the opportunity to upsell to a higher tier of service. 

The major cable companies have agreed to transmit both an analog and a digital version of must-carry channels for an additional three years after the transition.

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