City Asks For Fiber Network Help, 5 Years After Being Left At Altar By Verizon FiOS

Back in 2009, it looked liked Alexandria, VA, residents would get a new high-speed Internet option in the form of Verizon FiOS. The city even went through the bureaucratic process of issuing Verizon a franchise. Then the D.C.-area community got dumped at the altar by Big V and has been looking for someone, anyone to step in ever since.

In a request for information [PDF], the acknowledges that its approximately 150,000 residents “have limited options for broadband internet service,” and that Alexandria leadership “regularly receives feedback from our citizens requesting additional options that are not available on the market today.”

Verizon was all set to provide broadband fiber service to Alexandria (the city and company had not yet finished negotiating a pay-TV franchise deal) when, in Feb. 2010, the president of Verizon’s Virginia operations dropped the bomb that the company didn’t need Alexandria anymore.

As the company has repeatedly stated in its explanations for why its network construction has cooled, Verizon’s initial build-out goal for FiOS was to only make the service available to 18 million homes.

And in the company’s breakup letter [PDF] to Alexandria, it explains that “we now have sufficient franchises in Virginia and nationally to reach those goals… As a result, we will not be able to add the City of Alexandria to our existing portfolio, and at this point, I do not know when that will change.”

But, like many a cad who woos someone only to kick them to the curb, Verizon tried to leave Alexandria with a message of “but you’re still pretty and plenty of folks will love you; maybe even me.”

“Verizon and the City have done the work necessary to make Alexandria an attractive place to invest,” concludes the letter, “if and when Verizon decides to expand its FiOS network.”

After a half-decade of hiding in its room and pining for the one that got away, Alexandria is finally back on the fiber singles scene. And unlike the initial FiOS deal, it ideally wants someone to provide both broadband and pay-TV service, which would bring real competition for Comcast.

Alexandria is giving interested providers until Sept. 3 to respond to the request for information.

[via Ars Technica]

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