In California, Verizon has been slowing their deployment of FiOS
to new neighborhoods in Orange County. While they apparently told the county this was due to a slow economy
, they're telling the local press that they're taking a break from new deployments in order to better market the service in existing neighborhoods. It appears that the same thing is now happening in Pennsylvania
, where Verizon is halting new franchising for the same reason:
"We have taken a pause in negotiations in a number of areas, including Harrisburg. The customer reaction to FIOS has been tremendous" in those municipalities where the service is available, he said. "We have been building fiber to homes as fast as we can in Pennsylvania. Right now we are shifting our focus to honor existing deployment commitments by reaching out to FiOS TV customers where we have cable franchises. In areas where we haven't. ... We are taking a pause in those franchise negotiations and re-evaluating where we go next."
I'm hearing that Verizon is also pulling back on any new franchising in both New York State and Massachusetts, but it's often hard to differentiate between Verizon actually stopping deployment, and Verizon bluffing about halted deployment
in order to get what they want from lawmakers. It seems likely that should the Verizon/Fairpoint deal
go through, the company could look to offload other less profitable markets, like rural New York and rural Massachusetts.
It has always been a big question as to where precisely Verizon would draw the line on FiOS deployment after their initial $23 billion investment wave was completed. The company lobbied for state franchise reform laws
to ensure they wouldn't be forced to wire entire states, so what happens next? Verizon's been selling the rural markets
they don't want to upgrade, but what happens to the rural markets and second and third tier cities the company wants to keep but aren't attractive from a ROI perspective?
Will FiOS for those users simply be delayed (a strategic pause to simply recoup some money on invested markets), or will Verizon look for a less expensive upgrade path like VDSL (um, V
ios?)? Verizon should start giving hints on their next course of action early next year, and it's something worth watching if you're a Verizon customer who wasn't in one of the company's initial $23 billion FiOS deployment regions.