Verizon faces more fire from Pittsburgh mayor over FiOS build

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) maintains that it won't build out FiOS to any new communities, but Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto says the telco has not met the goals of the agreement it signed with the city six years ago.

Peduto said in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article that besides not meeting the tenets of the franchise agreement, the carrier has laid off a large part of the local workforce that could have assisted in the FiOS FTTH build.

"Verizon has not lived up to the commitments that are under the franchise agreement, whether it is how the system is being put in and where the system has been completed. And under that agreement there are fines that will have to start going into effect," Peduto said. "At the same time, instead of hiring more people to be able to finish this job, they've been laying off more people, and these workers now, who could have been completing the commitment that Verizon owes the city of Pittsburgh, find themselves unemployed."

Under the terms of the original agreement, Verizon agreed to offer its FiOS service throughout the city, providing consumers and business customers an alternative to dominant cable operator Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA).

Although lawyers representing the city met with Verizon management this month, Peduto said no fines had been assessed.

For its part, Verizon said it could not reveal what it discussed with the city and that it offered proof that it has met its buildout obligations, adding that the technicians affected decided not to take jobs in other regions.

"While we will not discuss the particulars of our meeting with the city, we do feel the meeting was positive, and we demonstrated Verizon's compliance with the agreement," John Bonomo, a Verizon spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  "With respect to your question about our technicians, each was offered to take a similar job in another location, but they all declined. We believe we have the appropriate staffing levels to meet customer-service needs."

Peduto is one of several mayors in the carrier's wireline footprint who have called out Verizon on its FiOS build. In October, mayors of 14 East Coast cities called on the carrier to expand its FiOS FTTH network into more areas that have limited access to high speed services.

The mayors asked Verizon's CEO Lowell McAdam in a letter to talk with them about ways the telco can more effectively serve its wireline customers and resolve disputes with the Verizon workers represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) who are in the midst of negotiating a new labor contract.

For more:
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has this article

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