New York City Files Lawsuit Against Verizon Over Unfinished Fiber Rollout

By Nethani Palmani | Mar 16, 2017 11:55 AM EDT

New York City officials have filed a lawsuit against Verizon on Monday over breach of contract. The city has waited almost nine years after signing a contract with Verizon to bring fiber-optic internet and television service to the city, and almost three years after the 2014 deadline to finish the job.

"Verizon must face the consequences for breaking the trust of 8.5 million New Yorkers," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement, according to New York City's website. According to the negotiated agreement, both New York City and Verizon agreed that Verizon would generally place its fiber-optic network along the same routes that had been used for its copper network, and similar strategies would be used for accessing individual buildings.

Verizon however, has stated out from the agreement with the New York city, that the city omits traditional language specifying a household is "passed" only when fiber-optic cables are installed in front of a house or apartment. Verizon apparently believes it has the capacity to negotiate for its Fios rollout than the city acknowledges due to the absence of the language, according to CNET.

"At a time when communities across the country are seeking out broadband investments like these, the New York City is inexplicably turning its back on this investment and its residents by pursuing foolish litigation that will harm jobs, business growth, and technology competition throughout all five boroughs," a Verizon spokesperson said. The spokesperson highlighted that the telecom provider had readily invested $3.7 billion into the Fios roll-out, and plans on adding $1 billion to the investment, to help complete the job.

As for Verizon's take on the situation, the company has decided the vigorously fight the New York City's allegation. The company thinks that the De Blasio administration is attempting to rewrite the terms of an agreement made with its predecessor at its own basis of political self-interests, that do not exactly serve the needs of New Yorkers.

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