Verizon challenges New York City, saying it has met FiOS agreements

Sign outside a Verizon Wireless store

Verizon says that the latest claims made by New York City officials that Verizon has reneged on its FiOS buildout are false and will inhibit the telco’s ability to challenge Charter, which gained an immediate presence in the city via its Time Warner Cable acquisition.

“It is unfortunate and disappointing that the City is taking an adversarial approach to the only company that has challenged New York City's cable monopolies,” said Ray McConville, a spokesman for Verizon, in an e-mail to FierceTelecom. “Verizon has invested billions of dollars in a state-of-the-art fiber network at a time when other companies are abandoning their plans for fiber to the home. The City should be working with Verizon to make choice available to more residents, not discouraging competition.”

New York City officials have accused Verizon of not complying with an agreement to build FiOS across the city, according to a WSJ report.

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This follows reports made in the summer 2015 that the telco had failed to make its FiOS network available to every home per the 2008 agreement. At that time, Verizon refuted the city’s report, saying it was politically motivated and linked to Verizon's pending contract negotiations with its union workers. The company has about 39,000 workers covered by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

McConville said “the franchise with the city only covers obligations for TV service and “there are no high speed Internet buildout requirements.”

After a year of talks, city officials say Verizon still hasn’t made meaningful progress.

City officials said that they could sue Verizon unless the telco shows clear plans for increasing FiOS installations. The notice is the first step in that process. Verizon now has 30 days to respond. Verizon said the company has lived up to its agreement, and that the city has not helped the carrier resolve issues it delivered getting access to more buildings.

McConville said if the city does decides to file a suit against Verizon it will hold up further service rollouts.

“It will only slow progress,” McConville said. “If the City pursues counterproductive litigation, we will defend the good work done by our company.”

According to a new audit FiOS buildout made by the city’s Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications, the city said there were more than 40,000 outstanding service requests, about three-quarters of which had been pending a year or more. City officials said that as of September 12 about 25 percent of New York households can’t get access to FiOS service.

After recently sampling 52,000 addresses for FiOS availability, city officials found that outer boroughs were more likely to have access than Manhattan. For example, 90 percent of Staten Island residents were eligible to get FiOS within seven days, compared to 19 percent of people in central Brooklyn and 11 percent in upper Manhattan. About two-thirds of the more than 300 public-housing developments, which are home to more than 400,000 people, have no access to FiOS, the city says.

Outside of New York City, Verizon has chosen to build FiOS in select parts of cities like Boston.

In April, Verizon broke away from its moratorium on new FiOS builds announcing that it would spend $300 million to build out fiber throughout the city over five years. Taking a cue from Google Fiber, Verizon is also breaking out the city into "fiberhoods" where it will assess demand and prioritize its fiber network construction schedule.

For more:
- WSJ has this article

Related articles:
New York City audit says Verizon failed to deliver on FiOS promise
Verizon touts potential FiOS expansion, but is it real or a bluff?

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