Verizon calls New York City's report on FiOS failure a 'union tactic'

Verizon has refuted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's claims that it hasn't held up its end of a past-deadline deal to offer its FiOS service to city residents.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Verizon FiOS
REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

The office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio released results of a recent audit of Verizon's FiOS deployment in the city today, declaring that "Verizon substantially failed to meet its commitment to the people of New York City."

The report, released by the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) and available in PDF here, charges Verizon with several violations of its 2008 agreement to offer FiOS to all city residents by 2014, claiming the company "has not run fiber throughout enough of the City's residential neighborhoods to deliver on its commitments." Earlier this week, a Wall Street Journal report leaked details from the audit: that more than 40,000 requests for service from residences that had not been wired for FiOS remained unfulfilled, and that 75% of those requests had gone unaddressed for more than a year.

Speaking on behalf of the company, Verizon spokesman John Bonomo refuted the report and suggested that it is part of an attack from a labor union, with which Verizon is set to begin negotiations next week.

"First and foremost, it is important to note that it's not a mere coincidence that the report is made public today, and labor negotiations with our largest union begin on Monday," Bonomo said in a statement emailed to Network World. "It's well known the union has ties to the city administration, and things like this are a familiar union tactic we have seen before."

Specifically, Bonomo refuted the report's claims that the company has not laid enough fiber to provide FiOS services to all of the city's residents, and says these accusations are "based on erroneous factual conclusions and incorrect interpretations of the Agreement."

"We indeed have met the requirement to install fiber optics through all five boroughs," Bonomo said. "Our 3.5 billion [sic] investment and the 15,000 miles of fiber we have built have given New Yorkers added choices and a robust set of advanced, reliable and resilient services. The challenge we have is gaining access to properties which of course would expand availability. We look forward to working with the City to seek solutions to this issue."

Regarding the issues with "gaining access to properties," the statement echoes Verizon's claims of difficulty with city landlords restricting access to buildings. The company has long attributed any perceived delays in project to this issue, and in the Wall Street Journal article this week Verizon said it was the primary reason FiOS has yet to reach every household.

Mayor de Blasio's announcement of the DoITT report also claims Verizon failed to document service requests from customers; told prospective customers who requested service that it had no plans to extend FiOS to their residences; designated certain residential addresses as "unavailable" for FiOS service in its own internal records; and failed to cooperate with DoITT's audit.

This is hardly the first time Mayor de Blasio has taken Verizon to task for a lack of progress on its FiOS deployment. The company's agreement with the city was a major talking point in de Blasio's mayoral campaign in 2013, and in February 2014, just over a month after he was sworn in, de Blasio announced that his counsel, Maya Wiley, would push Verizon to extend fiber-optic internet service to more residents.

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