City Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury) says Comcast just isn't cutting it for Boston and wants to look into ways to get Verizon to bring its fiber-optic connections into town - or other companies or utilities that might do so.
RCN isn't really competition enough for Comcast and with FiOS stopping at the city line, Boston is in danger of falling on the wrong side of the digital divide for a lack of competition, O'Malley said at a City Council meeting today.
O'Malley said he has seen his constituents "literally chase down" a passing Verizon truck to ask when the company was going to bring its Internet service to Boston. Verizon and former Mayor Thomas Menino famously clashed on the issue of a "pole tax" for new fiber-optic cables; then Verizon announced it had stopped rolling out FiOS in new communities altogether.
Among those in attendance at today's meeting: Dedham Selectman and Verizon employee Brendan Keogh, whom O'Malley said would be willing to work to bring Verizon officials to a hearing on the issue. Keogh said nothing, but smiled and nodded.
Other councilors agreed: Charles Yancey (Dorchester, Mattapan), said Bostonians should not become information "have nots." Councilor Tim McCarthy (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) said the lack of serious broadband competition in Boston is becoming a serious "social justice issue" and that Comcast rates are too high.