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Verizon Throws Surprise FiOS Party for Boston

After years of winding down its FiOS investments, Verizon made a surprise announcement today stating that it will extend its fiber network into Bean Town with plans to negotiate a TV franchising agreement as well. Also on the docket, Verizon says it will conduct a "Smart Cities" trial to address local traffic issues, and will experiment with additional sensor-driven technologies in Boston in the future.

The news that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is planning to bring FiOS Internet and TV service to Boston comes as a shock after the telco recently divested itself several of several FiOS markets in a sale to Frontier Communications Corp. (NYSE: FTR). As DSLReports notes, many of Boston's suburbs have already been upgraded to fiber infrastructure, but the city itself has been surviving on copper wire. (See Frontier Takes Over FiOS Tomorrow.)

The latest Verizon move comes as other service providers are focusing heavily on targeted high-speed broadband deployments in gigabit cities around the country. So far Verizon hasn't launched residential gigabit services anywhere, but the company is in the process of selecting vendors for a network upgrade to next-generation PON technology. NG-PON2 would make it easy for Verizon to offer gigabit broadband, and even 10-Gig and 40-Gig services in the future. (See Verizon Preps Next Major Broadband Upgrade.)

In light of today's announcement, it's also important to note that Verizon workers are planning a strike beginning tomorrow in an ongoing fight with the telco over job terms and security. One issue union workers have raised is that they'd like to see Verizon convert more of its copper networks to fiber.

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

KBode 4/13/2016 | 1:14:21 PM
Re: what a surprise I wonder how much was Verizon being worried that Boston was going to strike some kind of public/private partnership that would have brought a Google or Ting (or somebody else) into town, creating bad PR for Verizon by building a network Verizon simply refused to?
Duh! 4/13/2016 | 1:08:05 PM
Re: what a surprise Either a special deal or strong-armed or most likely a little of both.

The announcement mentioned expedited permitting. That is a big deal. And the city and state gave GE some pretty exceptional concessions to lure them to Boston. so I wouldn't put it beyond the mayor and governor to have done the same for Verizon. Boston didn't get FiOS during the main part of the build-out because late former Mayor Mennino beat them up over video franchise terms. One might well expect that to have changed.

On the other hand, it's well known that City CIO Jascha Franklin Hodge has been shopping for public-private partnerships.  One could easily imagine a discussion with Verizon New England to the effect of "fish or cut bait". The timing of the announcement - the day before a strike - has to be more than a coincidence.

Then again, it's possible that they re-ran the numbers and decided that there is a business case. High revenue potential (ARPA and take rate), plus big OPEX savings when they scrap the decrepit copper network.

It sure would have been fun to be the fly on the wall at some of those meetings.
KBode 4/13/2016 | 11:39:56 AM
Re: what a surprise It's not clear, but I'd imagine Verizon got some kind of very special deal from the city. Just last fall they basically stated that delivering FiOS to Boston would never happen.
steve q 4/12/2016 | 9:35:52 PM
what a surprise It is nice that Verizon has change it tune and provide Boston Ma FiOS. What was this reason Verizon having a lot on it plate with the strike with those workers that will provide Boston with the FiOS? Unless Verizon is just going to ride everything on it new 5g that said it is a lot faster than FiOS but at what cost will that be to the customer of Boston. FiOS can provide the needed network so those customers will be able to us there Wi-Fi device on the road and help out with the city and town.
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