Elected officials, communities blast Verizon for failing FiOS buildout

In public hearings convened by the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) across New York state, elected officials and community leaders sent a clear message: Verizon is leaving our communities behind. From Albany to Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton, Brookhaven, and elsewhere, mayors and members of the public told the NYPSC that Verizon is not building FiOS in their cities, and is at the same time abandoning its traditional landline network.  

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, New York state senator Neil Breslin, and Assemblyman John McDonaly spoke out for their community against Verizon’s failure to deliver FiOS service to the Capital District of New York. The officials explained that Verizon’s failure to build has hurt jobs, hurt consumers, and curbed technological development in the area. The officials demanded that the public service commission investigate the company.

The outcry comes after the mayors of Syracuse and Kingston joined the Communications Workers of America (CWA) at the bargaining table in Rye, NY, while mayors from Utica and Rome, along with the Town Supervisor of Brookhaven, sent letters of support, urging Verizon to stop ignoring their communities’ need for high-speed internet and video service.

“Affordable, reliable, high speed internet access is critical to the future of our community and our country and we need to make sure all New Yorkers are given access to this vital commodity,” said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner at the NYPSC hearing at Syracuse City Hall. “Quality telecom infrastructure is critical to ending the digital divide in our community, helping to grow jobs, and improve educational opportunity. The PSC needs to embrace their core mission, to help consumers have affordable access to these services.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said: "It is just simply wrong for Verizon not to build out FiOS in the City of Buffalo and other communities that are requesting it.”

Verizon was at the center of a public hearing in Binghamton, New York last month. “Too many areas are being bypassed by Verizon FiOS,” said Jake Lake, president of CWA Local 1111. “These areas quickly become losers in a world that is being driven by broadband.”

Another local resident brought a petition signed by 300 people asking Verizon to bring FiOS to the area. The petition read, in part: “We the citizens of Central New York respectfully ask that you insist that Verizon bring its flagship product, FiOS, into this region so that we may be afforded the same economic, educational, and medical benefits as many of our neighbors in the Syracuse and Albany areas.”

A damning audit by New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications found that Verizon failed to meet its 2008 promise to deliver high-speed FiOS to everyone in the city who wanted it.

But New York isn’t the only state that Verizon is neglecting. As the editorial board of the South Jersey Times recently put it: “Verizon has shown in several ways recently its utter contempt for New Jersey households” by failing to upgrade its network to FiOS while neglecting proper maintenance and repair of the traditional copper landline network.

Local officials speak about Verizon FiOS product not in Albany (news10.com, Aug. 12, 2015)

NY majors join CWA at bargaining table, tell Verizon to stop stalling on FiOS (Speed Matters, July 31, 2015)

Hearing on telecom, Internet service Thursday night in Delmar (TimesUnion.com, Aug. 13, 2015)

CWA: Verizon neglects copper lines (Speed Matters, June 11, 2015)

Verizon’s Voice Link ploy running into its own superstorm (Speed Matters, July 3, 2015)

Editorial: Verizon insults its South Jersey customers (South Jersey Times, Aug. 11, 2015)