New York Mayor Bill de Blasio rags on FiOS

During his recent campaign, New York Mayor de Blasio had often complained that Verizon’s FiOS broadband service was underbuilt and overpriced – a stand he developed in his former job as the city’s public advocate.

As one local business publication said, “Mr. de Blasio has frequently accused Verizon of failing to meet benchmarks set out in its 2008 franchise agreement to make broadband available to all city residents by mid 2014.” Mid 2014 is fast approaching and for too many people FiOS is nowhere to be found. In fact, to date Verizon has only made FiOS available to half the city’s residents.

Verizon made its promises in exchange for a citywide franchise, effectively eliminating wireline competition in New York. But that was under Mayor Mike Bloomberg and unfortunately for Verizon, de Blasio has renewed his push.

Moreover, de Blasio “...signaled this week that he will seek to compel the company to offer its FiOS service to New Yorkers who can't afford its current rates.”

De Blasio’s newly named counsel, civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley, has, like the mayor, cast the issue as one of equity. At a press conference, Ms. Wiley said, “If you can’t afford to feed your family by the end of the month, you can't afford $75 a month for the broadband service. And that's what we have to fix.”

The mayor said that although Verizon is a private company, the city isn’t helpless. At the same press conference, de Blasio said, “...this is a situation where our city's economy is being held back, social and economic justice are being held back.”

To compensate for the lack of competition, de Blasio said, “We think we have a lot we can do on that front, with our regulatory power, with our purchasing power, with our franchise power.”

CWA and Speed Matters agree with Mayor de Blasio that all New Yorkers have a right to broadband access – regardless of geography or income.

Mayor pushes Verizon to discount FiOS for poor (Crain’s New York Business, Feb. 19, 2014)

NYC Mayor De Blasio Wants Better Broadband Competition in NYC
(DSL Reports, Feb. 24, 2014)