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Boston city councilors on Verizon FiOS: Screw that, city can find an alternative

City IT workers have begun mapping out existing underground conduits to see if there's enough room for another company - or the city itself - to lay the cables needed to bring competitive high-speed broadband to Boston, City Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury) said today.

The council voted unanimously today to support efforts to stir up broadband competition in Boston by a company that could wire up large portions of the city, following a hearing at which Verizon said Boston can forget about ever getting FiOS as an alternative to Comcast's service.

O'Malley, who said he's still using DSL, said the issue is greater than just giving consumers another choice, because Boston's knowledge-based economy depends on access to high-speed Internet.

He said that while he found Verizon's answer "enormously disappointing," said there are other companies that might be interested in wiring up the city, and that City Hall has not ruled out setting up a municipal broadband network.

City Councilor Frank Baker (Dorchester) blasted Verizon, a company he said nets "a billion dollars a month" for disrespecting Boston and cheaping out on the roughly $500 million he estimated it would cost to fully cable the city. He continued he knows why: "This is union busting," because Verizon doesn't want to hire union electricians to lay the cables, he said. "This is union busting at its finest."

City Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury), said the city should explore alternatives to fiber-optic service, including high-speed wireless - ironically, an area in which Verizon has said it is concentrating rather than on expanding FiOS - and broadband over power lines.

None of the councilors mentioned RCN, which competes with Comcast in parts of Boston.

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Comments

Why are these guys so surprised that Verizon isn't interested in expanding FiOS to Boston when they've said publicly that they are done rolling out FiOS to new markets?

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This all about that moron Baker grandstanding hoping to win some union love. Verizon never misled them or told them otherwise. They are done expanding for now til they make some money off their existing network. It's been their stance for a while now. What doesn't idiot frank comprehend?

They should really push crippled RCN or another telco in here.

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Thank you. This isn't about Unions at all. I have no idea why Baker would bring this up. If he did some quick googling he'd figure out pretty quickly that FiOS isn't going anywhere due to Verizon have no interest in rolling out, fixing, or expanding their wire line service anywhere. They've been saying this for years now. If they could dump the wire-line business tomorrow, they would, and are pretty close to it.

Just shows you how clueless some of these city council members are.

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"Until they make some money off their existing network" ?! LMFAO!! And you think Frank is the idiot?!

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Expand on how you are related to Frank.

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Says the person who slams verizon but works for them.

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He's the one who has figured out how to expense his trips to Seattle (for City to City?)

http://www.ocpf.us/Reports/DisplayReport?menuHidden=true&id=551014#sched...

And romantic pre-Christmas weekends in NYC for "meetings with local officials)

http://www.ocpf.us/Reports/DisplayReport?menuHidden=true&id=215424#sched...

His expense reports put Steve Murphy's to shame! These guys definitely need a raise, prices are going up at Ruths Chris and Abe and Louis, and campaign funds are getting harder to come by!

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Verizon is making plenty off its existing FIOS...

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I just hope these City IT workers in Boston don't spend too much payroll time making these maps.

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In fact, why don't you fire up your 56k modem and send them an electronic mail right now. They should get it pretty quickly given that they pay half of what we do for a service that is 15 times faster.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/chattanooga-the-first-10-gigabit-internet-c...

This isn't just small city boosterism. Chattanooga's fiber optic network has produced tangible results. A study recently released by University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Finance professor Bento Lobo shows "the Gig Network" helped the Chattanooga area generate at least 2,800 new jobs and at least $865.3 million in economic and social benefits.

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I've been neutral on this guy until now. What a colossal jerk, playing the anti-union card here. It's been well-known for some time that, as Adam notes, Verizon's focus is on wireless.

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sources in an urban area like Boston, broadband over power line (BPL) service is the LAST thing we should be advocating for. Unless we want endless problems with radio interference to public safety systems, among others.

And BPL providers are notorious for not addressing such concerns either.

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You'd think they'd make at least a pretense of not being a monopoly. My remote broke so stopped by their location in Roslindale/WR on Washington Street on a Saturday while running errands - they were closed Saturdays - and of course Sundays. Now I knew they were closed once a week for two hours in the middle of the day for a "team meeting in Danvers" or some such so I checked their hours to see what evening I could stop by. They are only open from 9 am - 5 pm (except of course for the aforementioned random midweek team meeting requiring the attendance of the entire Metro Boston staff). So if you have a regular job and need to go to the service office - basically you have to take a vacation day - or at least half - to get a new remote.

Then I decided to go to their Watertown location on my way back into the city from a meeting - only to find that there are two people there - that take lunch at the same time and there was a sign - closed until 2:10 pm (2:10?) for lunch. So I waited a half hour and finally got my remote from a dimly lit grungy office on Main street - if they put up bullet proof glass like at the other location I'd have thought I was pawning stolen goods at a pawn shop.

Nice to know that for almost $200 a month for pretty basic cable and high speed internet I can find a narrow window at the nearest service center miles away where someone actually is in the office.

Not sure what I can do about the internet access - we need it for work - but we are looking into cutting the cord on the cable. I need to watch less TV anyway!

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For the cost of a trip to the Newton/Needham line, you can visit our non-bulletproofed office on Saturdays!

(At least you used to be able to...)

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And don't miss it for a minute, or the $125 a month bill for cable, DVR, HD converter boxes, modem and other stuff Comcast charges you for. Now, we get most of our programs through Hulu and Netflix subscription for a few bucks each month via Apple TV set top box... when we're not watching free TV via a $25 HD antenna. Watching Hulu and Netflix is like watching programs on a DVR. Plus, it felt really good calling Comcast and telling them to go screw themselves after they gouged us year after year. The cable monopolies suck, and their business model is doomed. Cut your cable and do the math on how much money you can save each year!

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Who are you getting your internet signal for all that streaming from?

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RCN. $45 per month for internet only. Works fine for two people working online all day and streaming our Netflix at night.

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RCN isn't available at our house :( they provide service on our road starting two blocks down but won't come to our address. And no netBLZR, no Fios, literally no options but Comcast.

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and for the last nine months my husband and I lived there, the internet was nearly unusable most of the day. We could use apps (Netflix or mobile apps on the phone) but the internet just refused to allow websites to load for most of the day.

It got so bad that any transactions, bill payments, uploads, or purchases had to be made elsewhere, otherwise the connection would time out and not complete.

Our new apartment also has Comcast-only, and I had to file an FCC complaint to get them to fix the internet here. The tech did a half-ass job and left with the issue unresolved.

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Is a step up from Comcast, but that is like moving up from the 7th level of hell.

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Call me pedantic, but why would electricians be laying down fiber optic "cables"?

On the other hand I find it laughable that this world-class city, a hub of biotech and software companies - some say the next Silicon Valley - doesn't have good internet access options.

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Also doesnt have good residential internet options. Its pretty much comcast or DSL there too.

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Because fiber optic cables carry electromagnetic waves?

But seriously, if non-union electricians is all it takes to expand FiOS in Boston, then most people would probably say go for it.

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Data is low voltage (or no voltage for optics) so you don't need a licensed electrician to install. Phone company employees, cable guys and alarm installers do not need to be electricians for this reason. Telecom employees are in unions and that must be the issue.

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well verizons technicians are IBEW 2222, so technically electricians (because of union) they are the ones that have been doing it.the city would probably employ local 103 to do the work.

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got this response ( i live in dorchester.)

"Thanks for your interest in netBlazr. Unfortunately, we don't have coverage in your neighborhood yet. We are actively seeking tall buildings (6+ stories higher than the surrounding area) to become your repeater for our service. If you know of any building owners that would support bringing netBlazr to your neighborhood, please introduce us.

We'll keep you on our waitlist and contact you once service is available. In the meantime, if you know of anyone in the Back Bay, South End, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Roxbury, Newmarket, South Boston, Charlestown, Fort Point, Leather District, Cambridge, Allston, East Boston, or Chinatown (our current coverage areas) who may be interested in our service, please pass along my contact information."

previously i had earthlink dsl in cambridge for about 10 years at the same price- never went up. never a serious problem and enough speed for steaming. i think they used verizon's lines.

so, anyone with some tall buildings in dorchester want to save us for now from satan's bunghole, comcast?

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I live off Cambridge St and I am surrounded by tall buildings. netBlazr doesn't seem to have the clout to get in.

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I had netblazr for a year and they were prompt in answering the phone when their service went down. But their service was unreliable at times; my internet was down three times un a month when I had deadlines for work. Also the speeds fluctuated a lot. Sometimes I would run a speedtest (they recommended this) and get 25 mb but other times I would get 5 mb. They kept telling me to reboot my router. Finally I couldn't deal with the slow speeds that i canceled my service with them. Comcast is hard to deal with but I never had an issue with internet going down or weird slow speeds, so I went back to comcast.

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Inquired about NetBlazr, got this response:

"I am pleased to inform you that are within our coverage area! We are receiving an increased number of inquires about our service and we will be in touch as soon as possible. In the meantime, here is more information about our company and our pricing. If you are looking for a quicker response, please give me a call at (617) 606-3448 or let me know a convenient time to call you to discuss connecting. "

Awesome, I thought to myself, no more comcast.

The next day, I got this email:

"Thanks for your interest in netBlazr. Unfortunately, after closer examination our engineers determined that we don't have coverage at your location yet. We are actively seeking tall buildings (4+ stories higher than surrounding area) to become your repeater for our service. If you know of any building owners that would support bringing netBlazr to your neighborhood, please introduce us.

We'll keep you on our waitlist and contact you once service is available. In the meantime, if you know of anyone in the Back Bay, South End, Fenway, Roxbury, Newmarket, South Boston, Charlestown, Fort Point, Leather District, Cambridge, Allston, East Boston, or Chinatown (our current coverage areas) who may be interested in our service, please pass along my contact information."

Fuck.

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You would think with all the "You would be home by now" people of Charles River Park that you would find a building that would be willing to collect a few bucks a month.

Southie seems like a tougher area to get service unless you can get something in the tower on Dorchester Heights.

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That happened to me too. I live in Dorchester and I have been inquiring about their service for the last two years and they keep telling me that they are going to bring service to my neighborhood but every time I check back they still don't service my area. It seems like they have no clout to get on tall buildings.

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...And no FiOS for Boston. So why'd Donny walking around town whoring his Bostonian cred to a corporation that has no interest in the city itself.:( https://vimeo.com/76144616)

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...And no FiOS for Boston. So why's Donny walking around town whoring his Bostonian cred to a corporation that has no interest in the city itself.:( https://vimeo.com/76144616)

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Watertown is left out of the FIOS deal too. I hate comcast so I have DirecTV and RCN cable modem. But we can thank mass for passing a satellite tax.

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Boston had 15 years to find an alternative. Now they want to do something? Losers.

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Fios did not start to be installed until 2006 and at that time only a few cities.

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Wow...so many people with the wrong facts! First Verizon begged the former mayor to lay fiber in the city but he wanted lots of kickbacks to the city and Verizon said no. Verizon also tried to get the approval to wire the entire state instead of having to negotiate with evey city and town. Once this was voted no. Verizon decided to stop expansion in our state. They are only finishing city and towns they have a contract with.
This is 100% about union jobs. Verizon has no problem building fiber in states that they do not employer union workers. Like Texas. Also currently all union employees up the east caost are working with out a contract since it expired in Aug. Verizon wants to move thousands of jobs out of state. Our union workers are fighting hard to keep their jobs here. This is important to our state economy.
Verizon has also tried to sell off its New England New York part of the business. They do not care about its employees or the states it has enjoyed tax breaks. Billions of dollars made each month. they can afford to wire FIOS and negotiate a fair contract with its employees
I will never allow a wireless service in my house..It is not reliable.

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'' Verizon Communications will not expand their FiOS fiber optic network beyond the current obligations the company has with communities where it presently provides service.

Verizon chief financial officer Fran Shammo told investors the company intends to wind down FiOS expansion once its contractual commitments to state and local authorities are met to reap the financial rewards of the fiber optic network it began building in 2006.

“At this point we won’t build beyond that, because at this point we have to capitalize on what we have invested,” Shammo told an investor at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference.

From 2014 beyond, Verizon plans to substantially decrease capital investments in its wired networks and continue to shift spending towards Verizon Wireless. Shareholders may also benefit from an increased dividend payout as the company’s balance sheet improves.''

http://stopthecap.com/2012/09/25/verizon-wont-expand-fios-beyond-current...

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First Verizon begged the former mayor to lay fiber in the city but he wanted lots of kickbacks to the city and Verizon said no.

My recollection was that the mayor's position was, "You can't cherry-pick; if you want to lay fiber in Boston you need to commit to covering the entire city, not just the highest-profit-margin neighborhoods."

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Is EarthLink Cable Internet available to all Boston Neighborhoods?

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People in Boston and Massachusetts need to look closer at this and understand that Verizon was never coming to begin with - at least not now. There is substantial ink on this at a site called "DSL REPORTS." where on line services are discussed, and where, in this case, some Verizon (VZ) techs have taken pity and help a few people with special cases.

1) Verizon has stopped rolling out FIOS fiber optic all but nationwide. The only place that FIOS is getting added is in places where the main fiber trunks have been laid and they want to expand and fill up capacity. The constant TV adverts for FIOS are immaterial to anyone in Boston. it's not there now and won't be in the future because VZ has ceased all construction on FIOS. If your community has it now, you may be able to get connected. There are a few places where VZ is being mandated by law to roll it out or connect people but again... important statement... no new fiber is being laid anywhere. They are just in-filling and adding where mandated by law or other legal mitigation.

2) Verizon is slowly cutting back on its DSL market. If you have a working DSL line on your copper wire phone line, cherish it and keep it running. DSL reports is rife with people's stories where a customer dropped DSL to get cable, didn't like it or had problems, and when they tried to go back to DSL - in some cases only by weeks of time - were told it was no longer available. Tough luck Charlie. Many central station buildings where your DSL comes from are already at capacity and have no more connections. If it croaks, you may not be able to get it fixed either. Thanks to deregulation, VZ has no obligation to fix it either and may even cut your speed to make the line quality tester they have look better. If it seems to work better and easier at a lower speed they drop it. Loads of stories like that. And that all gets done by their off shore service people. Let's not go there.

3) Verizon is getting out of the copper wire telephone service. They claim that is not so but if you look you will find that they are rapidly selling off entire copper networks to a company called Fairpoint Communications. In this area they have already sold off ME, NH, VT, and some people in western MA were impacted by this due to how cables are strung. This company has raised DSL rates and struggles to maintain a copper network that is aged and failing. VZ then re-enters the market and offers customers a black box that ties your hard-wire phone to its cell phone network as a replacement offer to stay with them, but this is a phone service box only. if you want wireless internet it's another device and a higher rate than you had before. If you don't believe this, wake up. They just sold off their holdings in California - yes the whole massive state.

4) Deregulation also allowed them to stiff everyone demolished by the hurricane in NY & NJ. They were under no obligation to restore their copper networks in devastated coastal areas. There, people were offered the black box to connect to cell towers. many were also forced to go to wireless internet at higher rates because even the cable companies are still trying to catch up in those areas.

5) Wimax, a wireless internet service that was in the greater Boston area has been purchased by Sprint. Users have been required to buy a new box or dongle for that. Fewer providers, less competition in rates.

So kiss off FIOS here or move out of Boston and see what you can get. Any new potential for another carrier is great news when you add up all of these things.

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FIOS got the raw end of attempting to negotiate with the same group who gave away Yawkey Way and a Mosque at the taxpayers expense! Comcast got exclusivity to the Boston market! RCN was a weak appeaser!

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