The Real Deal New York

Verizon shifts strategy for citywide high-speed broadband

Outmoded strategy, storm damage and building access issues caused provider to miss deadline
June 09, 2014 11:25AM

The city agency tasked with overseeing Verizon’s agreement to wire the five boroughs with FiOS fiber optic cable has conceded that Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene put those plans behind schedule. But a host of other issues independent of storm damage have also held up progress, including the distribution strategy Verizon has pursued since 2008.

Those issues have prevented Verizon from connecting residences to its existing fiber optic infrastructure. Its 2008 deal with the city stipulated that it would deliver high-speed cable and TV service to customers within six months to a year of laying cable.

Verizon now wants to pursue a “grid approach” – blanketing large areas with service hookup, rather than its current strategy of responding to areas with the most incoming requests, Chris Levendos, vice president of national operations at Verizon, told Crain’s.

That is the strategy Google has pursued with its Fiber broadband, which could be coming to New York City. It could also help Verizon obtain permission from landlords, which has reportedly been an issue in some large buildings downtown following Superstorm Sandy.

However, the city’s Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications is concerned that a strategy shift will further delay service delivery, reports Crain’s.

Levendos also wants to expedite negotiations with landlords by creating a standard access agreement, a project the Real Estate Board of New York is already working on, reports Crain’s. Verizon is also close to gaining approval for a practice called microtrenching that would speed up service delivery by allowing the company to make small trenches in sidewalks to run cable into buildings. [Crain’s]Tom DiChristopher