Verizon says Boston FiOS customers won't be guinea pigs for new wireless system

Verizon and city officials said tonight that if they reach agreement on a cable contract, the company will roll out its FiOS service to four Boston neighborhoods using its traditional fiber-optic cables right to people's homes or buildings.

Verizon officials and Boston CIO Jascha Franklin-Hodge said that even as Verizon begins to serve Boston over fiber-optic lines with TV, Internet and phone services, it will be building a parallel system to eventually offer 5G wireless services - at far higher speeds than today's 4G - via a vast network of small antennas on utility poles. 5G is still under development.

While, at some point in the future, Verizon might begin to offer television, Internet and phone service over 5G, the FiOS build-out in Boston will be based on "fiber to the premises," Verizon attorney Paul Trane said.

Trane spoke at a meeting at the Bolling Building in Dudley Square, which will be one of the first parts of the city to get FiOS, possibly beginning at the end of this year. Other initial neighborhoods would be West Roxbury, most of Roslindale and most of Dorchester, except for Lower Mills (map). Roughly 50 people attended.

The company did not give a specific timetable for extending FiOS to the rest of the city, although it has pledged to cover all of Boston within five to six years as part of a $300-million Boston investment.

Franklin-Hodge, , who is overseeing negotiations with Verizon on its proposed cable license, vowed the city will not let the company cherry pick neighborhoods as it enables FiOS across the city. - a complaint that has come up in some other large cities with FiOS.

He acknowledged there might be some small areas where Verizon can't build FiOS lines for various technical or legal reasons, but "fundamentally the goal is universal service."

Most of the people who spoke at the meeting belonged to one of two groups: A number of Verizon workers and one Verizon union rep urged the city to approve a contract with Verizon ASAP to bring residents the unparalleled services they said Verizon offers and to bust up the Comcast monopoly that exists in the 70% of the city not served by RCN. A large number of officials, hosts and volunteers at Boston Neighborhood Network, the city community-access channel, meanwhile, urged to city to insist Verizon support their work the same way Comcast and RCN have.

Only Walter Haynes of Jamaica Plain raised the optical-cable-vs.wireless and cherry picking issues.

One Dudley Square resident raised concern about the disruption caused by laying optical cables through people's yards. Verizon said it would work with the city to minimize that.

Theodora Hanna of Tech Goes Home asked if Verizon would work to provide Internet service to residents who might not be able to a full FiOS package. "Verizon is committed to digital equity," Trane replied.

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Comments

Thanks Adam

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for attending and reporting on this meeting. I planned to attend, but my schedule changed at last minute.

I can say that Verizon has been in Roslindale with multiple trucks simultaneously going through the neighborhood. Looks like we should be good to go as soon as Verizon gets the contract signed....

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Thank you, Walter

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Hope you read this and can give your take on the answers you got.

I don't see how a full city rollout of fiber cable drops will be anywhere close to profitable for Verizon. They need the fiber to put up their "cantennas" as WiFi end points but that's not going to be close enough to every customer that will want to switch on every random street.

My bet is they will agree to phrasing that says if you live too far from the nearest can or feed line going to it, then they can't "technically" get to you...which will be some bullshit but gets then what they want: a network of antennas waiting for 5G and enough profitable drops to say they "gave the city FiOS".

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I'll tell you how running

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I'll tell you how running FiOS to Boston residents is profitable. It's because offering FiOS to residents isn't Verizon's primary motive. Their real goal is that this deal gives them fiber backbone to run 5G wireless on streetlights throughout the city. No other wireless carrier will be able to come close to Verizon Wireless coverage once these mini-towers are installed--they'll become the undisputed champion with the best coverage in the area. $300m is a drop-in-the-bucket (that will also give Verizon great local press, because FiOS is better than Comcast) in terms of costs to Verizon. This deal was about long-term strategy.

Verizon Wireless & AT&T have convinced US wireless customers that cellular data is really expensive (even though it's significantly cheaper in almost every other country) think of the profits Verizon will be able to reap on faster 5G!

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But Verizon Wireless and

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But Verizon Wireless and Verizon wireline operate as two separate companies. Wouldn't this undermined the profits of one business entity for the benefit of another?

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Verizon wireless has to

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Verizon wireless has to backhaul their antennas with someone's fiber. Why not give that work to their sister company?

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Verizon and Verizon wireless

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Verizon and Verizon wireless are not separate companies, according to the SEC.. both have the same stock symbol and wireless was already notified by the SEC to remover the 'wireless' portion from their logos a year ago.

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Not surprising from Verizon...

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DSLReports has documented how Verizon has strung along cities and consumers with FiOS deployments for years.

The budget for FiOS in Boston is supplemented by the fact that Verizon wants to use Boston as a test market for 5G. By deploying FiOS, Verizon will build out a network that allows it to provide backhaul for its wireless network on the premise that they are "giving us" FiOS. Verizon has divested itself of most of the markets that it deems unprofitable. Given the fact that Boston has been ignored for a number of years for FiOS, I wouldn't trust Verizon to fulfill their build out promise. See here or here

I'm all for competition, but the fact is over the past 15 years Verizon hasn't provided anything competitive in that Roslindale. Those in the Sq towards Forest Hills have had nothing better than 1.5Mbps DSL since 2000. It shows because Comcast and RCN dominate the area with 100Mbps+ speeds. Verizon offers 768k DSL in my area (South St,), it's not enough to stream Netflix in HD.

SMH.

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I wish I could get RCN at our

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I wish I could get RCN at our Roslindale address :( It's Comcast or nothing here.

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Yes, thank you.

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It's a little dispiriting that of all the people who showed up at the meeting to speak, only one wasn't representing a narrow organizational interest (either Verizon or the public access channel).

If we want better internet service for everyone, we have to show up like Walter Haynes did!

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