New York City today filed a lawsuit against Verizon. The city claims Verizon failed to complete a citywide fiber rollout by 2014 as required in its cable franchise agreement.
Verizon disputes the city’s allegations. The telecom giant says that it is not required to install fiber in front of each building. Meanwhile, nearly 1 million New York households do not have access to Verizon’s fiber-based FiOS service. Verizon says it has brought its network to 2.2 million NYC residences, while the city has an estimated 3.1 million households.
The city government’s complaint in the New York State Supreme Court seeks a declaration that Verizon is in breach of its obligations and an order to complete the project. The 2008 agreement, which gave Verizon a citywide cable television franchise, said Verizon must “pass all households” with its fiber-to-the-premises network by June 30, 2014. The agreement covered only cable television, but the fiber build-out also provided faster Internet speeds because the same fiber is used to deliver both services.
“This build-out required Verizon to install fiber optic cable—in underground conduit, along above-ground utility poles, or otherwise—in front of (or behind) each residential building,” the city’s complaint says. NYC says that even Verizon agreed with this interpretation, quoting a Verizon statement in 2008 that said its fiber-optic distribution facilities “will have to be run past all of the residence locations in the city.”
But, according to the complaint, Verizon hasn’t passed all residential buildings with fiber, and it has failed to complete many requested installations.