City Reaches Settlement Agreement with Verizon FiOS Regarding Expansion

Mayor Bill de Blasio. Image credit: CityLand

The new agreement stresses the need for internet access. On November 24, 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio announce efforts to tackle the digital divide in New York City by ensuring that Verizon builds out its FiOS footprint to 500,000 additional householders, making high-speed fiber broadband available to more New Yorkers. Verizon failed to meet the terms of its current cable franchise agreement made with the Bloomberg administration to build out its FiOS network.

Under the terms of this new agreement, secured by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Verizon will build out FiOS connectivity for New Yorkers, prioritizing the least-connected communities and New York City Housing Authority residential buildings. As a result of Verizon’s previous failures to connect many buildings to its network, large portions of New York City’s neighborhoods are under an effective monopoly, with only one cable and broadband providers, risking lower speeds and high costs.

Internet access is no longer a luxury, but rather is an essential service to maintain health, receive an education, and access employment. Many neighborhoods that have the most to gain from this new agreement are also the neighborhoods that have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic; with the lowest median household incomes; and the fewest options for affordable broadband, including:

  • Bronx 2 (Hunts Point, Inwood)
  • Bronx 5 (Fordham/Morris Heights, Mount Hope, University Heights)
  • Brooklyn 16 (Brownsville, Ocean Hill)
  • Bronx 7 (Bedford Park, Fordham, Jerome Park, Kingsbridge Heights, Norwood, University Heights)
  • Manhattan 9 (Hamilton Heights, Manhattanville, Morningside Heights)
  • Brooklyn 12 (Borough Park, Kensington, Ocean Parkway, Midwood)
  • Manhattan 3 (Alphabet City, the East Village, the Lower East Side, Two Bridges, Chinatown)
  • Brooklyn 9 (Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Garden, Wingate)
  • Manhattan 12 (Inwood, Washington Heights)
  • Brooklyn 4 (Bushwick)
  • Queens 12 (South Jamaica)

In these Community Districts, Verizon will be required to provide paid internet service within a week to residents who request it. Other terms of the new agreement include:

  • A requirement that Verizon report quarterly on the progress of providing FiOS is needed areas.
  • The City will publicize a list of newly eligible households that were previously ineligible for FiOS or other broadband service.
  • The City’s franchise team will closely monitor Verizon’s performance to ensure Verizon adheres to the agreement and is prepared to enact serious consequences for failure to perform.

Speaking on the new agreement, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “internet access is an economic right in New York City, no matter your zip code. Tech giants will not stand in our way to deliver high-quality broadband to New Yorkers – [tech giants] must be a part of the solution.

The new agreement is still subject to approval from the NYC Franchise and Review Commission.

By: Lynsey Smith (Lynsey is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)



2 thoughts on “City Reaches Settlement Agreement with Verizon FiOS Regarding Expansion

  1. 3 years later and verizon has barely touched any of these neighborhoods. All of NYC is under one monopoly or another and every time the government says “bad verizon do better” verizon says I need more money. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    It’s LONG past time to ditch the private deals with these con artists and just build out a municipal fios network.

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