Verizon sets West Roxbury as Boston's first FiOS neighborhood

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has named West Roxbury as the first destination for its FiOS FTTH buildout plan in Boston, following the results of the telco's campaign for residents to pre-register for service. Beginning in September, Verizon will start building out network facilities in the northwest section of the community, and the first customer will be connected to high-speed internet at the end of the year.  

Roxbury's Dudley Square, which is known as the community's "innovation district," will go live by the end of the year as well, the Boston Globe reports.

Over the next few days, Verizon plans to release more details about service in two other Boston neighborhoods, Dorchester and Roslindale.

Verizon said construction on a second group of neighborhoods -- Hyde Park, Mattapan, Jamaica Plain, and additional parts of Roxbury -- is set to get underway in 2018.

Echoing Google Fiber's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Fiberhood enlistment process, Verizon developed a free online pre-registration process to assess demand and help Verizon prioritize its fiber-optic network construction schedule. Other service providers such as TDS Telecom have taken a similar approach to Google and Verizon with its Fiberville concept.

Initially, Verizon will offer its broadband data service with its video service to follow after the city approves the telco's cable TV franchise application. However, traditional consumer broadband and video is just one element of Verizon's Boston FiOS plan.

The service provider plans to use the FiOS build as a backhaul mechanism for its upcoming 5G wireless network service as well as smart city applications. Verizon will conduct a smart city trial with Boston called "Vision Zero," which includes a combination of traffic and public safety plans. 

At this point, Verizon is conducting necessary pre-build work, including the installation of fiber cables and taking an inventory of its existing aerial utility poles and conduit to carry the new fiber.

"We're where we want to be, in that we see them actively working and having boots on the ground for the installation," said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Boston's CIO, in a Boston Globe article.

In April, Verizon broke its moratorium on new FiOS builds announcing that it struck an agreement to bring FiOS to Boston via a $300 million, six-year investment plan that will replace the city's aging copper network infrastructure with fiber. Up until that point, the service provider had only agreed to complete builds where it has existing franchise agreements in place.

Specifically, Verizon will start replacing copper with fiber in Dorchester, West Roxbury and the Dudley Square neighborhood. Later deployments will take place in Hyde Park, Mattapan, and other areas of Roxbury and Jamaica Plain.

Verizon said it was influenced to bring FiOS to Boston for two reasons: the city's diverse business landscape, and cooperation from local and state government leaders.

The new buildout -- Verizon's first FiOS expansion since 2012 -- holds much potential for Boston, but it's unknown whether surrounding cities will benefit as well. For example, the mayors of Peabody and Salem, Massachusetts, sent Verizon a letter pleading with the telco to bring FiOS to their towns. The leaders of these North Shore towns said they continue to get requests from residents for an alternative service choice to Comcast.

For more:
- The Boston Globe has this article

Special Report: Verizon's Boston FiOS rollout focuses on community, holistic use strategy

Related articles:
Verizon to bring FiOS to Boston via $300M partnership with the city
Verizon's CWA, IBEW wireline workers may strike on Wednesday
Mass. mayors plead with Verizon to bring FiOS to their towns
Verizon faces pressure from unions to expand FiOS into new markets

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