Is NYC Suing Verizon For Not Renovating Its Streets?

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor

New York City filed a lawsuit against Verizon Monday for failing to provide citywide fiber cable coverage, thus denying some residents the opportunity to purchase its services.

“Verizon must face the consequences for breaking the trust of 8.5 million New Yorkers,” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said in an official statement. “Verizon promised that every household in the city would have access to its fiber-optic FiOS service by 2014. It’s 2017 and we’re done waiting.”

The city alleges that an agreement with the telecommunications conglomerate pledges that everyone be given the choice to install Verizon’s fiber optic service.

But Verizon says that it is not required to install fiber-optic cable in front of each building, according to Ars Technica, which may be why the company contends it has brought its network to the 2.2 million residences out of the estimated 3.1 million households. Verizon says that complying with the government’s demands would interfere with so many aspects of everyday life that it would be untenable for the city. (RELATED: Verizon Rolling Out Unlimited Data Plan As FCC Leadership Changes)

“It is disappointing that you are demanding commitments that have no basis in our Agreement, that are beyond anything ever contemplated when we entered into that Agreement, and that are infeasible and counterproductive,” Craig Silliman, Verizon’s executive vice president of public policy and general counsel, said in a letter to the commissioner of the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. “Digging up City streets and sidewalks on the scale that you are demanding would cause enormous and unnecessary disruptions to vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and would impose immeasurable inconvenience and hardship on countless residents and businesses.”

The city’s government filed the legal complaint in the New York State Supreme Court, specifically seeking an order for Verizon to complete the project, as well as an official determination that the company violated its contractual obligations.

“No corporation – no matter how large or powerful – can break a promise to New Yorkers and get away with it,” de Blasio concluded in his statement. (RELATED: De Blasio Disables Free WiFi At Kiosks After Hobos Caught Masturbating To Porn)

Verizon, though, says it has not broken any promises.

“The tone of your letter and the breadth of your demands are counterproductive. It is disappointing that the city has increased its demands and hardened its position in the face of Verizon’s good faith efforts…” Silliman wrote to the city.

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