NYC official lambastes Verizon on lagging FiOS build-out

New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio sent a strongly worded letter to the municipal chief information and innovation officer about the city’s franchise agreement with Verizon.

In 2008, Verizon promised the city that by 2012 approximately 80 percent of New York households would be able to access high-speed FiOS – and by June 2014 FiOS would reach every home. Instead, at the end of 2012 only 1.7 million households – half of city – had access.

De Blasio wrote: “My office has compiled maps clearly highlighting these outrageous discrepancies in service. Neighborhoods like Washington Heights, High Bridge, Astoria, Woodside, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick have been largely excluded from FiOS to date.”

According to a post in DSL Reports, Verizon negotiated an unpublicized escape clause, “Fine print in the deal allows Verizon to back away from that promise if they pay a few small fines and/or aren't seeing the kind of TV subscriber uptake they'd like.”

The company is evading the charges. “As you might expect,” wrote DSL Reports, “Verizon is denying that they're behind schedule but won't offer specifics, pointing out that they only promised they'd ‘pass’ homes (fiber simply needs to run in the street outside), not necessarily ‘serve’ them.” However, it’s not certain they’ve even done that.

Speed Matters continues to urge Verizon to adhere to the NY franchise agreement and connect New Yorkers – and residents of other areas – with a 21st century high-speed fiber network.

De Blasio: Low-Income Neighborhoods Left Behind by Verizon High-Speed Internet (NYC Public Advocate Office, Apr. 26, 2013)

Verizon Accused of Lagging on NYC FiOS Promises (DSL Reports, May 1, 2013)

Build out that FiOS! (Speed Matters, Mar. 27, 2013)