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NYC Sues Verizon For Breaking Promise To Make FiOS Available To All Residents (washingtonpost.com) 73

New submitter erickessler writes: 1 million NYC homes can't get Verizon FiOS, so the city just sued Verizon. Verizon wants another four years to cover remaining 1 million households. Washington Post reports: "New York City has sued Verizon, saying the phone giant broke its 2008 promise (PDF) to make its Fios cable service available to all city residents. The city said in a lawsuit (PDF) Monday that Verizon missed a 2014 deadline to extend wire by every home or apartment building in the city -- in technical parlance, "passing" the home. The city also argues that Verizon hasn't installed service for thousands who requested it. Verizon disagrees with the city's definition of "passing" a home and says it has done its job. Spokesman Ray McConville said Monday that Verizon sees "passed" as meaning that it can reach every home, provided a landlord gives permission. Verizon wants to reach some buildings through other buildings. In a letter to the city Friday, Verizon says 2.2 million households have access to Fios, a phone, cable and high-speed internet network. Verizon said Monday that it is committed to expanding Fios availability to the city's remaining 1 million households."
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NYC Sues Verizon For Breaking Promise To Make FiOS Available To All Residents

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  • No worries (Score:5, Funny)

    by lucm ( 889690 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @11:33PM (#54034291)

    Marissa is coming, she will fix Verizon like she fixed Yahoo.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2017 @11:44PM (#54034313)

    I talked to the techs about it when they were repairing my POTS copper recently. Corporate figures it's not worth their while as the building's too small and other tenants are already with Time Warner, who renamed themselves Spectre excuse me Spectrum. Heard some horror stories about the local low income high rises getting their FiOS boxes and then residents, some of whom use their net connection for health monitors and are on fixed incomes, being told - FiOS or nothing, here's your much larger bill.

    Dealt with their techs a lot over the last couple of years, Sandy for one thing, and the techs are uniformly cool and mostly competent. But Verizon corporate does not intend to put FiOS anywhere they can't make an immediate buck. Then they'll claim that the super won't let them in or something which in my case is nuts as I'm the super.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Please, please, follow up on this. Your testimony will be very valuable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Years of experience with poor areas have provided a lot of understanding of how different areas of the USA react to upgraded networks.

      In wealthy areas residents apply for new plans.
      In poor areas local residents fill a shopping cart with new network hardware and plan the best way to push the full cart to a scrap merchant.

      Until an area has undergone full gentrification existing networks stay in place.
      • by Calydor ( 739835 )

        Full gentrification? That shouldn't be necessary, but maybe you should look at why your country allows its citizens to get THAT desperate.

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      Heard some horror stories about the local low income high rises getting their FiOS boxes and then residents, some of whom use their net connection for health monitors and are on fixed incomes, being told - FiOS or nothing, here's your much larger bill.

      This is where FiOS is a bit confusing to me. Where I live the main telco is going and replacing as much copper as they can with fibre. But that doesn't mean increased bills, only increased capabilities. The telco is selling the service level, not the technology it's on.
      For example, If you're on 25 meg internet on xDSL, and switch to 25 meg internet on fibre, your bill stays the same. The only difference is that while 25 meg might have been the highest speed you could get on the xDSL, you now have the option

      • by devjoe ( 88696 )
        Your argument makes sense, except that Verizon DSL is still 3 to 7 meg in most places, so the 25 meg minimum tier on FiOS is not equivalent. And yes, this shows how far behind Verizon's infrastructure is in the dense northeast US, where it should be easier to provide good networking.
        • by green1 ( 322787 )

          And there's the disconnect. Fibre isn't a separate service here, it's a different way of providing the same service. Do if you sign up for the minimum tier, it will be on whatever technology is available. (pay for 15 meg, get whatever your line is capable of up to that speed)
          So even if you only had 3 meg before, you wouldn't pay any more for 15 meg on fibre as you paid for 3 meg on copper.
          That said, fibre is being installed mostly in towns and cities, where most people could already get 25meg or higher serv

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's time cities all over the country start suing these leeches. The telcos took billions and billions of dollars of tax money in exchange for upgrades they have no intention of ever providing. Fuck them all. The FCC obviously won't be doing anything now, so it's up to the courts, the only sane branch of government left.

    • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @12:15AM (#54034405) Homepage Journal

      The telcos took billions and billions of dollars of tax money in exchange for upgrades they have no intention of ever providing. Fuck them all. The FCC obviously won't be doing anything now, so it's up to the courts, the only sane branch of government left.

      Seriously, if the courts were going to enforce any of this it would have been fifteen years ago. Bless his heart, Bruce Kushnick [twitter.com] will not let this go, but the telcos used the government to fleece the "ratepayers" and they have no intention of allowing that government to claw any of it back. Whomever needs to be paid, it's a lot cheaper than building infrastructure.

      Meanwhile, regulations prevent any effective competition, so that's as good as you're going to get without an Administrative State revolution.

    • It's worse in Florida. ~25 years ago, the Florida utility regulators agreed to let BellSouth basically DOUBLE the cost of local phone service to finance laying fiber to ~80% of customers within 10 years. The deadline came & went, and circa 2010, someone in the state capital who examined AT&T's actual deployment discovered that 99% of the fiber laid by AT&T since ~2006 was serving (... drumroll ...) nothing but AT&T cell towers. AT&T was counting potential wireless customers within range

  • How about upstate? I've got fiber running on the pole outside my house. They dropped a spool off last year across the road, while they were doing work on the lines. The cable was clearly labeled fiber optic. The driver of the FIOS van (two bucket trucks were there as well) confirmed it was fiber, but couldn't/wouldn't tell me what it was for or who's data was running over it.

    I suspect GE or SI, as they both have a heavy presence locally. More than a bit irritated that fiber is running about thirty feet from

    • by Cramer ( 69040 )

      Verizon Business (VZB) and Verizon FiOS (FiOS) are different businesses. VZB's fiber does not connect to FiOS customers.

      • by Shatrat ( 855151 )

        Or, it could very likely have been metro fiber connecting to a DSLAM cabinet, a cell tower, or a large business. All telcos are building fiber in all markets, but that doesn't mean they're deploying GPON. VZB doesn't lay much fiber. They mostly buy access circuits/services and provide L3+ services over it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That is not how verizon works.

      Verizon is broken into a few dozen 'verticals'. Very few of them work together. All of the money for building out residential is funding the wireless verticals.

      Unless the current CEO leaves nothing will change. They are quickly offloading everything with a wire hanging off it to put wireless in its place.

      They are trying to put the genie back in the bottle. The wireline ROI is flat to no growth. Wireless on the otherhand is growing. They have found a way to charge a premium

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That is not how verizon works.

        Verizon is broken into a few dozen 'verticals'.

        Very true.

        Very few of them work together.

        Not quite true. Some staff within the various "verticals" want to work with staff in the other "verticals", but issues like government regulations, pricing, and the always dreaded "internal politics" & "management attitudes" can stymie (delay) or even halt any attempt in that company to "work across the verticals".

        All of the money for building out residential is funding the wireless verticals.

        Actually it is the other way around. Revenues from wireless have been traditionally "funneled" back into the corporate coffers for use elsewhere in the business. The traditional tele

  • by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @11:54PM (#54034351) Homepage Journal

    Verizon said Monday that it is committed to expanding Fios availability to the city's remaining 1 million households.
    Fine. What does that mean in terms of Who, What, Where, When, and How?
    Because "in the sweet bye and bye" in terms of the "When" element isn't really acceptable. You've had since 2014, and it's now 2017. Where were you in 2014, and where are you now? And "passing by" a domicile isn't really helpful if persons in it wish to, you know, use fiber.

    Anyway, this is really a non-issue. Regulation/Oversight==bad for business as far as the current administration believes. At this rate, I'm just tickled my milk doesn't have melamine in it or my meat isn't horse meat or my prescription medication isn't just powered lead.

    Yet, anyway. Who knows what it'll be when the FDA is closed as has been promised.

    • by Cramer ( 69040 )

      By their records, it's "available" to everyone.

    • by Pikoro ( 844299 )

      What's wrong with horse meat?

      • What's wrong with horse meat?

        Absolutely nothing nutritionally. I just don't want to eat it and pay the price of "prime beef", plus I don't want to eat horse. It's a personal preference. It's like how some folks don't want to eat goat or pork. Some times it's religious, sometimes it's just preference.

  • New Jersey has a similar arrangement with Verizon regarding Fios deployment, yet NJ is giving Verizon a pass on this issue...

    • I kind of wish they would sue, the bastards. I waited for FIOS for roughly 12 years all in all, poking along on DSL. A few years back I saw a Verizon tech working on a pole in my neighborhood. When he came down, I asked him about the FIOS rollout, and he told me point blank, but consolingly, "It's never going to be available here, you'll never have it". So, Comcast/Xfinity was my only choice for true broadband.

  • Why would you even want it anymore? All they'll do is build it and sell it to Frontier and turn it into garbage
  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @01:28AM (#54034579)

    Verizon had signed a contract with the city [wordpress.com] and failed to hold up their end of the contract. Naturally, there are provisions for what happens in this case.

    15. DEFAULT AND REMEDIES

    15.1. Defaults. In the event of any breach, default, failure or other noncompliance by
    the Franchisee in the performance of any obligation of the Franchisee under this Agreement
    (each such breach, default, failure or other noncompliance being referred to herein as a
    “Default”), which Default is not cured within the specific cure period provided for in this
    Agreement (or if no specific cure period is provided for in this Agreement then within the cure
    period described in Section 15.3 below), then the City may:

      15.1.1. cause a withdrawal from the cash Security Fund, pursuant to the provisions of Section 15.11 herein;
      15.1.2. make a demand upon the Performance Bond pursuant to the provisions of Section 15.9 herein;
      15.1.3. draw down on the Letter of Credit pursuant to the provisions of Section 15.10 herein;
      15.1.4. pursue any rights the City may have under the Guaranty;
      15.1.5. seek and/or pursue money damages from the Franchisee as compensation for such Default;
      15.1.6. seek to restrain by injunction the continuation of the Default; and/or
      15.1.7. pursue any other remedy permitted by law, or in equity, or as set forth in this Agreement, provided however the City shall only have the right to terminate this Agreement upon the occurrence of a Revocation Default (defined hereinafter).

    I'm pretty sure Verizon is going to claim they are blameless in court per the Rules of Acquisition..

    #17 "A contract is a contract is a contract... but only between Ferengi."

  • by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @02:48AM (#54034701)

    Is this really the right approach? I get that Verizon used taxpayer funds and government brute force to obtain their state sponsored monopolistic market dominance. But then, how would suing them achieve anything? This lawsuit will result in them writing a fat check to Blasio rather than them actually rolling out fiber to anyone. If you want fiber grab your metamucil new yorkers because this isn't the way to get it.

  • The city also argues that Verizon hasn't installed service for thousands who requested it.

    In Soviet New York, evil greedy KKKorporation$ do not want your money.

    I wonder, why...

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      That's simple, their accountants have determined that the cost to provision the service is likely to exceed the revenue generated from doing so.

      That's not a good excuse for breaking their contract, but that's likely what's happened.

      • by mi ( 197448 )

        their accountants have determined that the cost to provision the service is likely to exceed the revenue generated from doing so

        Indeed, but why? NYC is a very thickly settled area — which is normally a dream for Internet-service providers. The high population density is usually cited as the reason for better Internet-service options [gigaom.com].

        So, why is NYC an exception?

        That's not a good excuse for breaking their contract

        Well, they entered into it under an obvious duress — so I wouldn't blame them too mu

        • by green1 ( 322787 )

          high population density helps, but that's on an overall basis, not a case by case basis.

          If they can look at individual apartment buildings and decide that the demographic living in that building is too poor, or too likely to chose the competition, they can decide it isn't worth their while.

          • by mi ( 197448 )

            they can look at individual apartment buildings and decide that the demographic living in that building is too poor, or too likely to chose the competition

            Well, that would seem like a perfectly normal line of reasoning — why sue them over it?

            But I doubt, that's the full reason. In the suburbs of NYC they are perfectly willing to hook-up individual standalone houses — a proposition that seems costlier, than wiring even a small share (like 10%) of apartments in a building. They are willing compet

  • Couple of years ago, Verizon ran ads in the Boston metro area showing happy shiny pop stars standing in Boston's Copley Plaza (local equivalent of Times Square) and extolling their FiOS service. As it happens, FiOS isn't available in the city of Boston, and--to all appearances--is never going to be.

    When the mayor of Boston called them out on this, Verizon responded with some clueless marketing gobbledygook.

  • Our coop president called Verizon many many many times to tell them we wanted FiOS. He offered to organize a meeting of nearby buildings. This is a relatively wealthy neighborhood. Eventually Verizon stopped answering his calls. Verizon took huge subsidies for FiOS and used them to build out their cellular network. The fact that the city still hasn't made a serious effort to enforce the contract shows that the city and Verizon are on the same side.
  • Much as I hate Verizon, I'm aware enough of NYC's bureaucracy to figure they likely threw roadblock after roadblock in Verizon's way. And knowing NYCs unions, they probably had to pay the workers not to work while trying to clear up the bureaucracy.

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