Back in 2008 Verizon negotiated a closed-door agreement with NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg that agreed to wire 100% of the city with FiOS by the end of 2014
-- sort of. Fine print in the deal allowed Verizon to back away from that promise if they pay a few small fines and/or aren't seeing the kind of TV subscriber uptake they'd like. Four months away from 2014 and Verizon has refused to offer any hard numbers on how far along in that goal they are -- though I've seen estimates suggesting less than 50% of NYC is wired with FiOS
Barring the use of witchcraft or inter-dimensional travel, Verizon's going to be absolutely nowhere near their promised deployment goal by their target date. Of course, they knew that.
The press and public won't, so Verizon has started seriously ramping up the blame on mean 'ole landlords for the company's failure to meet promises they never intended to meet. That's not to say landlords aren't often a problem.
Verizon filed a complaint with the New York Public Service Commission
back in January that claimed some landlords were blocking access to buildings. That's technically illegal, and most landlords do want tenants to be happy, so we're talking about a minority of landlords engaging in this practice.
But what if tenants don't want FiOS? A condo board owner in Jersey City writes over at Business Insider
that Verizon's now threatening to take legal action against New Jersey condo associations who do not want FiOS installed in their buildings. If Verizon has trouble accessing certain buildings, they get a sort of nastygram package hinting at dire outcomes:
"Verizon NJ has been unable to obtain access to upgrade the infrastructure using its standard technical solution under reasonable terms and conditions at [my address]," it reads. "While Verizon's preference is to upgrade its network for FiOS TV service in multiple dwelling unit properties where property owners/managers welcome the availability of FiOS TV service, a resident of the premises initiated a request with Verizon NJ for FiOS services. As such, Verizon NJ is required to file this Petition for access to the Premises."
The owner goes on to complain that people there are actually happy with Comcast, DirecTV and Verizon DSL services, even though readers of this site know full well FiOS would be an upgrade for them:
To the knowledge of myself and the president of our condo association, no one we know has requested FiOS. It was discussed once by our association, several years ago, with an owner who since sold his unit and moved out.
Our building gets its broadband needs almost entirely from Comcast, DirecTV and Verizon, but we don't have FiOS specifically. The situation seems to be that even if a majority of the owners in the building oppose FiOS, Verizon still has a state-approved right to enter our homes and install FiOS against our will as long as one "resident" has requested it.
This is an interesting and complicated discussion that goes beyond just "landlords are holding up progress." Post Sandy, Verizon's refusing to repair the existing POTS and DSL infrastructure
that many competing and unrelated services rely on. Right or wrong, many landlords simply can't understand why they can't just get existing services repaired. Others want the added disruption of gutting and installing new fiber hardware.
landlords can play a role in FiOS deployment problems in a few select areas. Verizon claimed at least one landlord tried to charge Verizon a fee to access property, so there are plenty of bone heads out there. At the same time, people need to understand that Verizon's going to spend the next year blaming landlords for missed urban FiOS build out promises Verizon knew full well they'd never meet.