Verizon still stalling on FiOS, says NY City

Despite a public outcry, and the determination of New York City’s new mayor, Verizon will fail to meet the June 2014 deadline to wire the city for FiOS. That deadline was set in the 2008 franchise agreement between Verizon and the city. In that agreement, Verizon also committed to respond to any request for FiOS service within six months; it has failed to meet this obligation as well.

An article in the business journal Crain’s New York, noted,  “For a variety of reasons, some beyond the company's control, Verizon has come up short on both obligations, raising the possibility that many neighborhoods will continue to be stranded on the wrong side of the digital divide.”

Yes, Verizon – like many businesses – was set back by the damage following Superstorm Sandy. But as Speed Matters reported in early April, Verizon has also sought to defer the blame  to the city’s landlords – saying some have prevented crews from wiring.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, among others, has charged Verizon with neglecting low-income neighborhoods in favor of wealthier ones. Verizon denies discrimination, but has withheld proof. As Crain’s said, “Verizon, based in Manhattan, has declined to provide the city with maps charting the street-by-street progress of its fiber network, citing the intense competition for cable customers.”

Chris Levendos, vice president of national operations at Verizon, has proposed to the NYC’s Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications a change in installation strategy. According to Crain’s:

“He wants to try a ‘grid’ approach, which would build up demand through an all-out marketing blitz across a set area. Verizon could then wire multiple dwellings at once, and presumably also do a quicker job of obtaining permission from property owners.”

It would mean a whole new deadline, and there’s no guarantee this plan would work, either. But, it's already six years since New York signed its franchise agreement with Verizon, and New York city residents deserve better than the current delays.

Still waiting for Verizon FiOS (Crain’s NY, Jun. 8, 2014)
Verizon blames NYC landlords for FiOS shortfall (Speed Matters, Apr. 2, 2014)