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MA: Verizon under fire for FiOS

By saveaccess
Created 03/25/2008 - 7:07am

from: The Sun Chronicle [1]

Verizon under fire for FiOS
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 1:05 AM EDT

Verizon has been under fire in recent months from critics who question why the company’s rollout of FiOS, its new fiber-optic cable television and Internet service, has mostly ignored Massachusetts’ cities, including Attleboro, Boston and Brockton, in favor of suburbs.

In February, Verizon announced plans to invest $200 million this year upgrading its television and Internet infrastructure in the Bay State. Most of the nearly 100 municipalities that have FiOS now or are scheduled to get it this year are suburban towns.

The Sun Chronicle region is a mostly FiOS-free zone — only Norfolk has the service now, and only Mansfield is scheduled to get it this year.

Verizon has been criticized for concentrating its FiOS rollout in wealthier communities. The average annual income of households in FiOS neighborhoods is over $85,000, according to a survey by The BRIDGE Data Group.

But Verizon spokesperson Richard Colon defended the company, the state’s second-largest cable TV company, saying there are reasons towns like Mansfield are at the head of the line.

"In a perfect world, we’d like to be everywhere," he said. "But realistically, it’s about securing capital dollars from the corporation for build-out here in Massachusetts. It’s about identifying communities that have demographics of usage and video services."

The company also has to take into account a community’s proximity to Verizon’s central hubs, and whether it has underground or aerial wires.

"There’s a lot of factors," Colon said. "It’s technology, it’s marketing, it’s allocation of capital dollars."

The company has also been criticized for pushing the state Legislature to approve a bill that would eliminate local control of cable television franchising by moving the process to the state level. Verizon argues the change would streamline the process and speed it up.

For more information, visit the official FiOS Web site at and an advocacy group for local cable franchising at

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