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Longhorn Network Signs Distribution Deal With Verizon FiOS

Longhorn Network nabbed its biggest distributor late yesterday, signing Verizon FiOS to a carriage deal that will make the network available nationally on Verizon’s systems. A formal announcement will be made today. The deal will take affect Sept. 1, just days before the channel's first football game, Rice-Texas. Plans call for Verizon to make LHN eventually available online, on tablets and on smartphones.

LHN will formally launch tomorrow to a handful of subscribers, as ESPN, which is managing the channel, has signed several deals with small distributors in the state, and will be making formal announcements before the launch. The channel is believed to be close to agreeing with Grande Communications, as well, sources said. However, the biggest distributors in Texas appear to be far from a deal, including the state's biggest cable operator, Time Warner Cable, the state's biggest satellite distributor, DirecTV, and the country's biggest cable operator, Comcast. The big distributors have questions over what programming the channel can carry, like high school games and intra-conference matchups. Longhorn Network is seeking $0.40 a subscriber a month from distributors in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
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