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Verizon CEO hedges on FiOS expansion

11 Mar, 2014

In the fourth quarter of 2013, Verizon added over 200,000 new Internet and TV FiOS connections, bringing its total to more than 6 million FiOS subscribers nationwide. FiOS penetration has reached 38 percent of the 15.6 million homes passed by the FiOS network.

But this growth is apparently not enough for Verizon CFO Fran Shammo, who told the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference that the company won’t extend FiOS to any new markets until FiOS has returned the cost of capital investment. At that point, Shammo noted, “we can look at expansion. But at this point we're happy with what we have.”

He may be happy, but many potential subscribers are not. People want the superfast fiber service, which is often the only competition to a local cable monopoly. Even in areas where FiOS has signed franchise agreements, buildout is not yet complete.

Verizon’s lack of enthusiasm has often infuriated customers and elected officials – some of whom have granted the company franchise agreements. As Speed Matters reported last month, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio had castigated Verizon for failing to achieve its promised city-wide FiOS buildout by 2014. Verizon is nowhere near meeting that benchmark.

Shammo also acknowledged that wireless is no substitute for the “hard wire into the home.” As he explained, “It [LTE wireless] is really more around voice and some data, but not the heavy data of a FiOS connection.”

Verizon’s Shammo: We'll look at FiOS expansions once it returns the cost of capital (FierceTelecom, Mar. 10, 2014)

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio rags on FiOS (Speed Matters, Feb. 26, 2014)

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