New York City 1/2 million lines of fiber instead of 5G substitute… Was it the IRREGULATORS?


  • New York Post: NYC gets Verizon to expand Fios broadband to 500K more households
  • City of NY Press Release
  • Mayor de Blasio Holds Verizon Accountable to Connect Half a Million New York City Households to Broadband, November 24, 2020

Two Letters to NYC Mayor de Blasio, Sept. 24th, 2020

The IRREGULATORS Letters to Mayor de Blasio:

In September, 2020, after we realized that Verizon’s NYC cable FiOS franchise had expired, we wrote 2 letters to the Mayor — to use this as leverage to get ALL of the City wired. The franchise requires 100% of the City upgraded to fiber optics for FIOS by 2014. The City took Verizon to court in 2017. We also pointed out that the distribution of those who had not been upgraded to FiOS were the low income areas, for the most part — direct ‘redlining’ — and it violated the franchise agreement.

Letter 1

The settlement took years and the focus is — fiber to the home to ½ million not served, but should have been, starting in the low income areas.

  • It brings competition to areas where the incumbent, Verizon, didn’t show up before.. Doesn’t competition lower rates? (common wisdom with caveats.)
  • An upgrade to high speed, which impacts the Digital Divide? — This is 1/2 million fiber optic lines in areas of NYC where Verizon was only offering copper-based DSL if at all.
  • The areas discussed are  mainly low income areas in the City.–“Under the agreement, Verizon will make the least-connected communities a priority, promising access to service at 11 New York City Housing Authority locations, according to a statement Tuesday from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.”

And the ‘promise’? – Verizon’s intention, their under-the-breath response, has been they will substitute inferior wireless – 4G-5G with data caps. Fiber currently doesn’t have data caps, it has a great deal more speed, is more reliable and capable of handling a family stuck at home and online a lot.

But, at the core, inflated prices still need to be fixed, as competition is not lowering prices with a duopoly.

Letter 2

  • New York City Must Call for a Halt to the Billion + Dollars of Cross-Subsidies and Overcharging by Verizon NY, the Public Telco Utility

Whether the letters are the reason the Mayor is pushing forward  vs the other plans hinted at, to allow Verizon to substitute wireless? — no comment.

Regardless, our letters laid out that the City should get  Verizon to fulfill the commitment on the books. 100% of residences in New York City with fiber to the premises and offer FIOS, an internet and cable service.  However, this will only be an expensive duopoly if there are cable companies in these areas (I don’t know  the answer)

The next step has to be — audit the books and go after halt the cross-subsidies, which are evident in the Verizon NY Annual Reports. –which will lower prices. (there are specific areas that must be addressed.)

Finally, our letter suggested getting the money for the penalties and fines that should have been enacted — as well as penalties for not giving services to those who were entitled to it — especially since most of these areas are low income, — and giving them serious discounts/ free or cheap services—for a period of time.

PS: FYI We worked on this franchise from the inception (before 2008) as this deal left out all requirements to serve small businesses. In 2012, we worked with deBlasio’s staffers about surveying the city to find out the extent of the deployment and in 2015 we suggested the City take Verizon to court, and to not let wireless act as a substitute.

Bruce Kushnick, Managing Director, IRREGULATORS