Verizon has settled a six-year dispute with the city of New York by agreeing to wire 500,000 additional homes for high-speed internet service.
According to a story by Bloomberg, Verizon will initially focus its attention on the communities that have the least amount of broadband services available, which include 11 New York City Housing Authority locations.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the agreement during a press briefing on Tuesday.
"We've had a digital divide. We've had a huge disparity of who gets access to internet, (and) who doesn't," de Blasio said, according to a story by Reuters. "We have to create a society where everyone has equal access."
According to Reuters, the agreement included ensuring connectivity for every public housing resident in a New York City Housing Authority building.
For its part, Verizon was ready to move on.
"We're grateful for the opportunity to bring Verizon Fios service to an additional 500,000 New York City consumers," Verizon spokesman Rich Young said in an email to FierceTelecom. "Currently about 2.5 million NYC homes and businesses benefit from all that Fios has to offer. This agreement builds upon Verizon's base, and will make this premier broadband service available to even more consumers."
Young said the build out was already underway.
The dispute between Verizon and NYC started in 2014 when de Blasio said Verizon was breaking its promise to expand its Fios fiber-optic service citywide. Three years ago, the city sued Verizon for failing to live up to its installation agreement.
Deploying fiber in dense metro areas is an expensive proposition. Verizon suspended the build out of its Fios service in 2010 due to the high cost of trenching and running fiber connects to homes.
The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened the need for fast, reliable broadband services as schools and offices have closed. Millions of employees are still working from home while some cities, such as New York City, have closed school districts and gone to remote learning.
Verizon competed against Time Warner Cable in some boroughs of New York City before the latter was bought by Charter Communications in 2016. Verizon's fiber-optic service also initially went head-to-head with Cablevision in some New York City suburbs, such as Westchester County. Altice USA struck a deal to buy Cablevision five years ago.