Verizon on track to blanket New York City with fiber-optic infrastructure

Picture some 17,000 miles of fiber-optic cabling--equaling six trips between New York City and Los Angeles--and you'll have some idea of how much infrastructure Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) has installed in the Big Apple. That infrastructure includes interoffice and backbone network equipment, specialized fiber for large enterprises, and consumer and SMB FiOS services.

The nearly 90 million feet of fiber, spanning all five boroughs at a cost of $3 billion-plus so far, "is the largest, most ambitious fiber-optic deployment in any U.S. city," according to Kevin Service, Verizon's president for the carrier's Northeast area. "We have invested more than $3 billion in the city alone, making it one of the most 'fiberized' cities on the planet."

As of December 2013, Verizon says it's been meeting its Cable Franchise Agreement benchmarks with the city, wrapping network upgrades in 90 percent of the Bronx, 89 percent of Brooklyn, 94 percent of Manhattan, 90 percent of Queens and virtually all of Staten Island. Also included in the statistics are FiOS connections to more than 60,000 New York City public-housing units.

How is all this fiber being deployed in New York's concrete canyons? In April, Verizon got the go-ahead to test a "microtrenching" technique that reportedly will use much thinner wire and less equipment, translating into install times of only a third of current practices.

Verizon also is using its Magic Wire scheme it says "seamlessly and almost invisibly adheres to moldings in compact city apartments," coupled with a small desktop optical-network terminal that replaces house-mounted devices.

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