Verizon riles Boston mayor with FiOS commercial as it hunts regulatory relief in Mass.

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) wants Massachusetts lawmakers to see it as a tech company with a phone service, but it might have a hard time proving its case thanks to a commercial that touts its biggest technology play, FiOS, in a city where it's unavailable, Boston.

In a commercial titled, "Here's the Truth about FiOS in Massachusetts," Boston native Donnie Wahlberg stands before landmarks like the Hancock Tower and Trinity Church and touts the benefits of the high-speed Internet and TV service. The problem, according to a story in the Boston Globe, is that "you can't get (FiOS) anywhere in Boston."

The ad has Boston Mayor Thomas Menino a bit peeved, to say the least.

"I think they should put in big letters in the ad, 'We do not serve Boston. But we're using Boston as a backdrop, because Boston is a great city,'" Menino told the newspaper.

The ad's timing isn't the best as the carrier lobbies the commonwealth's energy and telecommunications committee to ease up on laws and regulations designed in the monopoly era that apply only to Verizon, and not other voice providers in the same markets.

Bill 411 would remove restrictions that are specific to Verizon in areas where there is competition from companies such as Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA). Verizon's hope is that when lawmakers discuss it today, they'll remove "a series of state laws and regulations that apply only to Verizon for the vast majority of cities and towns in the state," a story in the Boston Business Journal explained.

The story said there are about 36 towns in the commonwealth that have no cable voice service and even fewer with no cell phone service. All of these are in rural central and western parts of the commonwealth.

"At least some of these would maintain monopoly regulations for Verizon," the story said, adding that the carrier is hoping to negotiate terms for even some of these locations.

For more:
- the Boston Globe has this story (sub. req.)
- and the Boston Business Journal carried this story

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