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Verizon Revisiting FiOS Installs For Grounding Issues
After NY PSC inspections found installs weren't up to code...
by Karl Bode 12:05PM Friday Aug 22 2008 Tipped by Dennis See Profile
New York State Public Service Commission inspectors have found that a number of New York State FiOS installations may not have been properly grounded. The potential problems were only made public during the approval process for Verizon's new franchise with New York City, during which Commissioner Patricia Acampora raised concerns about approving the franchise without first fixing the issue. Acampora voted against the approval because of the problems, and others only voted yes dependent on a post-approval follow up of the problem by Verizon.

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Verizon confirms to me they're working with the PSC on the problems. The company has submitted a plan that has them not only going back to double check installations, but also involves a new quality-assurance team for future installs. "We've been talking to the NYPSC staff for awhile now about procedures in some specialized FiOS installations," Verizon's Bobbi Henson tells me. "We are working with the Commission to ensure that they are comfortable with our grounding approach and that we understand what their expectations are."

A number of consumer groups including Common Cause/New York, Consumers Union and NYPIRG have jumped on the discovery, and are asking regulators to reconsider the franchise approval. According to a NY consumer group named the "People's Production House," Verizon is "putting customers, workers, and homeowners at risk." The groups say the NYC deal was rushed through the approval process without proper consumer safety due diligence.

"Considering the aggressive rollout schedule included in the franchise and the railroading of the deal through the approval process, one has to be concerned that Verizon is sacrificing public safety for productivity," says the group's website. In their official filing (pdf) for franchise reconsideration, the group claims grounding concerns were "dismissed in an arbitrary and capricious manner." Back in May, the same groups voiced their concerns that the public was left out of the franchise negotiation process.

As you might expect, Verizon sees things differently. "Groups that have long opposed our NYC franchise are seizing the opportunity to file the document you found in their continuing attempts to stifle our FiOS offer," says Henson. "Bottom line is we put safety first," promises Henson. "We are confident that our grounding procedures are in compliance with the code and that our employees, our customers and our customers' property are safe."

Neither the PSC, the groups or Verizon have offered up any additional technical specifics on what the precise grounding issues are. The filing simply suggests that some FiOS Optical Network Terminals (ONT) aren't being grounded in line with the National Electric Code (see older forum discussion on ONT grounding). Have users (or electricians) with FiOS installations noticed anything of note? Any Verizon FiOS installers care to comment? If so, post your thoughts (and photos, if you have them) in our comment section below.


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