Philadelphia Investigating Verizon’s Completion Of FiOS Buildout

Image courtesy of Alec Taback

The city of Philadelphia gave Verizon until Feb. 25 to complete a seven-year agreement to bring FiOS service to all residents. While the company says it completed the job, the city is double checking the status by enlisting the help of those living within its borders. 

City officials say they are investigating whether Verizon met its obligation under the 2009 cable franchise agreement, Ars Technica reports.

Because it would take an immense amount of time for city officials to personally determine if each home or residence is now wired with FiOS, the city is asking residents for help.

A new webpage, created by the city, asks residents to fill out a form to “tell us whether you have tried to order Verizon service but have been told by the company that service is not yet available in your neighborhood.”

“Verizon was to have made its cable service available throughout the entire city, subject to certain exceptions set forth in the franchise agreement,” the city says on its webpage. “The City is in the process of verifying whether Verizon has met its obligation under the franchise agreement.”

A rep for Verizon tells Ars Technica that the city previously confirmed last summer that the company had completed 85% of the install, and now is just working to finalize the process.

“We believe we’ve completed our FiOS buildout in Philadelphia and have complied with the terms of our franchise agreement with the city,” Verizon said. “We’re currently working with the city’s Office of Innovation and Technology and the Law Department—the two entities that have oversight over the project—to verify we’ve met those obligations.”

Once the investigation is complete, the city will issue a report on the findings.

This isn’t the first time Verizon has met skepticism over its rollout of FiOS service. Last year, New York City issued a report following the supposed completion of its own agreement that accused Verizon of failing to fulfill its obligations. The company denied the findings.

In October, the mayors of 13 cities sent a letter to Verizon urging the company to stop dragging its feet on FiOS installation in order to bring competition to their markets.

“[W]e are writing to voice our concern at your company’s failure to meet the needs of our constituents for access to state-of-the-art fiber optic cable service,” reads the note to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam.

“Our residents use the Internet to search for jobs, build home-based businesses, educate their children and engage in the civic life of our cities,” continue the mayors. “But consistently and increasingly, our consumers have complained that FiOS service is not available to them. These are not isolated complaints – there are millions of residents in communities throughout the Northeast who have been left without service, and with no plan or promise for future resolution.”

Philly investigates whether Verizon finished required FiOS buildout [Ars Technica]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.