Verizon to expand broadband access in NYC as years-long lawsuit settles

Verizon has pledged to provide high-speed internet service to 500,000 additional NYC households

A lawsuit involving Verizon and the city of New York, which originated in 2017, was quietly settled over the Thanksgiving holiday, resulting in the operator pledging to provide high-speed internet service to 500,000 additional NYC households, prioritizing the least-connected communities.

While NYC didn’t officially sue Verizon until three years ago, the dispute between the two entities dates all the way back to 2014, when NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio accused the operator of not fulfilling its promise to expand its Fios fiber-optic service citywide. Verizon cited the high cost of fiber-optic network buildout as its reason for halting the expansion.

The operator came under particularly intense scrutiny when a 2015 city report found massive gaps in deployment coverage, disproportionately impacting the less affluent, outer city boroughs.

“This settlement will make sure that Verizon builds out its fiber footprint more equitably throughout New York City — especially in low-income communities that have historically been underserved by internet service providers,” said DoITT Commissioner and Citywide CIO Jessica Tisch. “This agreement attacks that unfair imbalance, and recognizes that high-quality internet is a necessity, not a luxury.”

The settlement couldn’t come at a more appropriate time because, de Blasio said in a statement announcing the settlement, “the pandemic has only underscored how critical this need is.”

Verizon also appears to be satisfied with the conclusion, with company spokesman Rich Young commenting, “This brings a finality to this longstanding litigation,” adding that the company has already begun working to live up to the new promise it has made.

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