back to article Verizon promised to wire up NYC with fiber... and failed miserably – audit

New York City authorities have thumped Verizon for apparently reneging on its promises to wire up the Big Apple with super-fast fiber internet. In 2008, the city signed a deal with Verizon in which the telco promised to give every resident access to a fiber-optic broadband connection by July 2014. In return, the city reduced …

  1. frank ly Silver badge

    Third World City?

    The agreement was made in 2008, for completion by July 2014. It's taken them a year to figure out that it hasn't happened. Does anyone at the NYC authority or anyone at Verizon know how to run, manage, monitor and report on a major project?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Third World City?

      "Does anyone at the NYC authority or anyone at Verizon know how to run, manage, monitor and report on a major project?"

      I think we can all agree the correct reply to your question is "NO"

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Third World City?

      Verizon? Probably. Whether or not any of them were assigned to this project is another question.

      NYC? Not a chance.

      Given the answer about NYC, the odds on the second part of the Verizon answer are greatly diminished.

      While I have no great love of Verizon, the most annoying thing about their rebuttal (or at least the parts El Reg printed) is that it is 100% true.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blame the Unions

    Those pesky unions whith their wanting a living wage and healthcare for their spouses and children. Poor CEO McAdam only made a paltry $18.3 millon in total compensation last year.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-23/verizon-ceo-mcadam-s-2014-compensation-rose-16-to-18-3-million

    1. Vector

      Re: Blame the Unions

      Yeah! And how dare they delay the completion by a year+ as a negotiating tactic!!!

  3. Spaceman Spiff

    I stopped loving Verizon when I was living outside of Boston and they sold their FIOS cable TV service to Comcrap, who quickly removed all of the channels that I got the service for in the first place! I dropped the "cable" service and just opted for the Verizon phone and internet service that I had in the first place...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fine them

    Fine them a few billion and get them walking on egg shells and do what they promised. They did the same in PA....got a bunch of money and never delivered!

    1. Wade Burchette

      Re: Fine them

      No, don't give them a tax write-off. Give them one of two choices: cancel the fee you requested to complete the roll-out and give a refund to every customer who paid this extra fee all those years; or fine the persons overseeing Verizon service in the New York City area.

      When you just fine the companies, the decision makers still have no incentive to do right and worse, the people harmed usually may not get appropriate financial compensation. You hit the wallets of the people screwing us and you watch how quickly they will get in line.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Fine them

      You'd lose when Verizon challenged it in court. And for precisely the reasons that they laid out in their rebuttal. They'll produce all the paperwork showing they have cabled the streets and the roadblocks are either the shared buildings or NYC government itself cutting the red tape lengthwise to stop Verizon from meeting their contract. At which point the citizens of NYC would likely also out the cost of the court case plus the fees for Verizon's lawyers.

  5. Justin Pasher

    Promising the world

    "In particular, Verizon said that while it can lay fiber under the streets, actually getting it into buildings is another matter."

    Hmmm... Maybe they shouldn't have come up with that agreement if it's something they couldn't do, eh? The article doesn't make it clear if this was some sort of signed contract or just mutual agreement.

  6. ST Silver badge

    The audit report is true

    Verizon is a dismal failure.

    Verizon promised a FiOS connection to my building/apartment in 2004. It never happened. Just to clarify: I don't live in the sticks, or under a bridge.

    Friends of mine - who were lucky enough to get a FiOS connection to their building - consistently complain about how unreliable and slow FiOS is. Never mind that Verizon got tax breaks and was allowed to raise their rates to subsidize this FiOS rollout. For those buildings who gained FiOS access, the residents were expected to share the cost of connecting the building to Verizon's FiOS; Verizon wasn't going to do it. Verizon's lame excuse: "We don't have access to the building."

    The best you can get from Verizon DSL - if you can't get FiOS - is 7Mb/down 1.5Mb/up. That's their 'Ultra-High-Speed Business DSL". It costs USD $165/month plus federal, state and local taxes.

    All my friends here gave up on FiOS and went back to Time Warner Cable Broadband Internet. Not because Time Warner Cable is any good - it sucks, but because it's marginally better than Verizon FiOS. Verizon's abject failure enabled Time Warner Cable to become a de-facto monopoly for Broadband Internet in New York City.

    So, no, it's not the unions, or the hurricane. It's Verizon's mind-boggling incompetence and corruption.

    I hope Verizon gets sued for breach of contract.

    1. jaffy2

      Re: The audit report is true

      A lot of buildings have existing deals with the landlord. Time Warner Cable pretty much own Manhattan, so in my building on 29th street my choice was TWC or 7mb DSL over some crapped out phone cable. I petitioned to get Verizon to install, but they claim they couldn't get the landlord permission to place their equipment in the basement.

      Landlords are certainly open to FiOS - its fast and the TV picture is lots clearer. More importantly they can state it on their listing for the building. I just don't think Verizon are making much, if any effort to get service into existing buildings.... New buildings it's pretty much a given.

  7. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Interesting...

    And in any battle with the FCC/FTC they cite that rules will kill competition or keep them from completing upgrades. Well, there must be another ISP/Cable/Broadband company in NYC for that to be true.. right? Oh.. there's not. So no competition.. no fibre... and rotten service but large profits. Business as usual I guess.

  8. Turtle

    Can It Really Do That?

    "Broadband is a key component of this Administration's fight to create opportunity and sustainable economic development in every corner of the five boroughs."

    Does broadband actually create "opportunity and sustainable economic development" anywhere? And I don't mean menial lackey-work like Uber, or the mooted "Be A Delivery Drone For Amazon In Your Spare Time" gambit. I mean good, workable, middle-class payscale jobs on which people can live and have a family and place to live other than a refrigerator carton. I have the impression that broadband (and the internet itself) actually destroys more such jobs rather than creates them.

    1. Old Handle
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Can It Really Do That?

      I hear web camming can pay pretty well...

      Or along more conventional lines, I suppose if you're planning to open certain types of business, internet access could be a factor in where you choose to locate. So in that way it could bring jobs to the city.

    2. Steve Todd
      Stop

      Re: Can It Really Do That?

      Companies selling their products online?

      Design companies delivering to their clients electronically?

      Web developers?

      Employees working remotely?

      There's just a few examples of where broadband creates economic development for the middle-classes.

  9. cyrus
    Unhappy

    Sometimes even Verizon gets screwed.

    I can attest that the right of way for Verizon to install fiber was indeed blocked by landlords in NYC.

    I know of one client of mine that was in a building on Lafayette St. in Soho that was eligible for FiOS, but it needed to be connected through a neighboring building that already had FiOS.

    In the end, the neighboring building's landlord would not allow the work to proceed to connect my client's building.

    In the end, cogent provided a miserable 10x10 business Ethernet connection for 1000 clams per month.

    I don't like Verizon or the way they do business, but there is some validity to their "landlord" argument from my own experience. Could Verizon run an extra 100 yards of fiber around the block to connect the building? I really don't know. But I personally spoke with the landlord of the neighboring building, and I know they simply were not going to allow the right of way for Verizon to bring the connection over.

    1. ST Silver badge

      Re: Sometimes even Verizon gets screwed.

      > there is some validity to their "landlord" argument from my own experience

      When you go to a sports equipment store to buy a pair of sneakers - trainers for our UK friends - does the store charge you for their rent? Or for their electric bill? Or for how much they had to pay to set up their store? No, they don't. These costs are business operations costs. These costs are included in the price of the sneakers. Most sports equipment stores don't get tax breaks and subsidies worth hundreds of millions USD.

      Same goes for Verizon. The cost of running fiber to a building is a business operations cost. Fiber is Verizon's Point-Of-Sale for their product - namely Internet Service.

      What the landlord in your case probably refused - just like mine did - was to pay for Verizon's cost of running fiber from the street to the building. In my apartment building's case, Verizon wanted USD $30,000 to come out of my landlord's pocket, or the tenants' pockets, just to connect the building to their Fiber network. As it happens in my case, the manhole for accessing Verizon's Fiber Box is right in front of my building's entrance.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: does the store charge you for their rent?

        Yes, they do or they go out of business.

        Verizon specified they did not have the "right of way" which means it is completely unrelated to the cost of the connection. Sounds more like your landlord was trying to gouge Verizon for something he should have provided for free.

        1. ST Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: does the store charge you for their rent?

          @Tom Dial:

          > Yes, they do or they go out of business.

          In your world, maybe. I certainly don't see a charge for rent or electric bill on my sneakers purchase recipts.

          As for the rest of your bullshit Verizon Love-In post, it's just that: Bullshit.

          Do you work at Verizon by any chance? Or AT&T perhaps.

          1. Pete4000uk

            Re: does the store charge you for their rent?

            You will find its added to the bill...

  10. Gray
    Devil

    It's coming ... coming ... real soon now ...

    Don't hold your breath.

  11. DougS Silver badge

    Why don't they put conditions in these deals?

    If you fail to meet your commitment to wire up everyone by date X, you have to refund the $1.95 per subscriber you've been charging to support this upgrade.

    Instead all the city can do is whine and stamp their feet, while Verizon got higher rates from everyone in the city for the past seven years...

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Why don't they put conditions in these deals?

      Because the politicians and their advisers have no incentives to do it right.

      It happens with almost every Government contract - all the risk gets heaped on the taxpayer, all the reward is handed to the supplier.

      A small amount of competence on the part of the Government would solve the issue, but while there remain no personal consequences they will continue to fail.

      In a company, if you lose huge amounts of money the company goes bankrupt, and everyone loses their jobs. Thus you usually have incentives to avoid doing that, as do both your bosses and underlings.

      In a Government, if you lose huge amounts of money then there's a public report saying how rubbish the government are, but there are rarely any personal consequences to anyone. Occasionally a figurehead resigns, but that's it.

      It's even worse for long contracts, as the (elected or otherwise) official who signed off on it is usually long gone by the time the problem is discovered. Often straight into one of the companies who benefited...

      Look at Greece. It's effectively bankrupt, and has been for years (it's unclear how long, but probably from before the Euro), yet there have still been no consequences at all for those in the government who put it into that situation, and there probably never will.

  12. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

    Both AT&T and Verizon are well known for their Fiber To The Media rollouts.

  13. The last doughnut

    To be fair, the Telco are just doing what they do, trying to reduce costs and make profit for their shareholders. The real failure is on the part of the city authorities and regulators to ensure the Telco deliver according to contract.

    Also, nice use of "We're victims of evil trade union" tactic.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: real failure is on the part of the city authorities

      No, the real failure here is the failure to comprehend that DeBlasio is a commie crook who hates businesses and will say and do anything to destroy as many of them as he can. Unless of course they're contributing to his campaign coffers.

  14. Dan Paul

    Correct!

    Lets add to that he's part of the vote buying entitlement circle jerk and counts on the city unions to keep him in office. That's changing soon enough.

    The Verizon issue is a huge part of the political corruption going on in all of NY State. They are governed by the NY Public Dis-Service agency and there is a tariff that Verizon is supposed to use to maintain their existing wired network. It's about $5.00/month on every ones phone bill.

    Except for the fact that Verizon won't authorize it's union technicians to do any repairs on those lines unless there is a business complaining and then not often. I have been told that directly by their technicians.

    The NY Public Service Commission gets plenty of complaints, mine being one of them and yet will not rule against Verizon and recover the money so another could fix the problems.

    The PSC and most State Agencies and Authorities are cesspits of political patronage and the friends and families of the influential get those jobs. Then they fail to regulate the industry they are charged with.

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