New York City Decides To Actually Pay Attention To Its Verizon Contracts After Getting Ripped Off On FiOS Deal

from the novel-ideas dept

New York City has decided to actually pay attention to city money paid to Verizon after city officials discovered Verizon's broadband-related-promises don't always hold up to scrutiny. As recently noted, a city audit found that Verizon's 2008 promise to wire the entire city with FiOS fiber broadband by 2014 has only been half completed, the telco using loopholes in the language to argue that getting fiber relatively close to many apartment buildings was good enough. The audit also found Verizon was withholding FiOS from some buildings unless landlords promised broadband exclusivity, something that the FCC supposedly outlawed in 2007.

Basically, Verizon did what Verizon's been doing for the better part of a generation now: getting special perks, subsidies and tax breaks in exchange for promises it has absolutely no intention of actually keeping. Former city leaders likely knew this; the 2008 deal was hashed out behind closed doors with then Mayor Mike Bloomberg's office with little to no serious public input.

Moving forward the city appears to have come up with a novel idea, more closely monitoring Verizon's other business relationships with the city:
"In a meeting at the end of June, Mayor Bill de Blasio told commissioners and agency heads they must inform the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications of all major contract negotiations with Verizon and other service providers...The de Blasio administration's new protocol has been described by insiders as an attempt to keep Verizon from continuing with business as usual while failing to make good on its FiOS franchise commitments—or even acknowledging the shortcomings of its FiOS rollout."
Yes, that's right, Verizon has yet to even admit it failed in any way, making the city's attempt to hold Verizon accountable rather difficult. What makes it even more difficult is that Verizon's likely just adhering to an agreement its own lawyers intentionally stuffed with loopholes, ranging from clever language regarding homes "passed" with fiber versus homes "served," to unrealistic provisions allowing Verizon to wiggle or buy its way out of obligations if certain TV and broadband uptake marks weren't reached.

Of course reporters at the time urged the city to have a more transparent public negotiations with Verizon to avoid these kinds of caveats and were ignored. Perhaps next time the city can be bothered to heed those warnings, and other cities can use this experience as (yet another) cautionary tale when dealing with Verizon.

Filed Under: contracts, fiber, fios, new york, nyc
Companies: verizon


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 28 Jul 2015 @ 4:26pm

    The horse has already got out of the barn...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 28 Jul 2015 @ 5:50pm

    "Scrutiny": Masterful overstatement of "observation" (used in the most narrow sense here) required to notice this shit. And notice it over time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 28 Jul 2015 @ 9:45pm

    Sounds like ...

    DeBlasio wants a raise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    kallethen, 28 Jul 2015 @ 10:20pm

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.


    At least, I HOPE that's what NYC has learned.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 1:03am

    Aiming at Verizon and missing the point

    "Yes, that's right, Verizon has yet to even admit it failed in any way,"

    That's because Verizon did not fail in any way.

    New York City's umbrage rings a bit hollow, when they where the party that contracted to allow Verizon to wave a chicken foot over the noodle soup and call it "chicken noodle soup". The city-Verizon contract was nothing but a sweetheart deal that Verizon wrote and the city signed-without-reading; just like the governor in Blazing Saddles signed things, la de da de doo ain't them nice bosoms.

    Forget blaming Verizon: where's the accountability for the city officials who let their citizens down? The city officials who failed?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thrudd, 29 Jul 2015 @ 6:54am

      Re: Aiming at Verizon and missing the point

      I can agree that the city didn't do their due diligence but that doesn't absolve the criminal from the crime.
      Shame and punish the city officials who collided but pillory the real crooks while you are at it else the same will happen again.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thrudd, 29 Jul 2015 @ 6:54am

      Re: Aiming at Verizon and missing the point

      I can agree that the city didn't do their due diligence but that doesn't absolve the criminal from the crime.
      Shame and punish the city officials who collided but pillory the real crooks while you are at it else the same will happen again.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Thrudd, 29 Jul 2015 @ 6:55am

        Re: Re: Aiming at Verizon and missing the point

        *colluded. ... stupid auto correct.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 12:56pm

        Re: Re: Aiming at Verizon and missing the point

        Shame and punish the city officials who collided but pillory the real crooks while you are at it else the same will happen again.

        Which one's the "real crook"? Someone selling snakeoil, or the elected representative who buys it with your money while getting a bribe from the snakeoil salesman to cheat you out of your money behind your back?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2015 @ 1:11am

    Any city should make its negotiation,s re broadband ,with telecom companys public, as fast broadband needs to be able to all ,
    at a reasonable price ,
    instead they give large tax breaks and get ripped off and the public get ripped off with less choice .
    this happens time and time again .
    Maybe put in a clause a review of service every 2 years ,
    if service coverage is bad the contract will be cancelled and the tax breaks will be stopped and repaid .
    put the contract online ,
    so any loopholes can be removed before its signed .
    i think the concept of public negotiations just goes,
    against city policy .
    all contract negotiations are secret by default .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 4:16am

    Wasn't Bloomberg that treated NYPD like his personal army and crazies like that? If the deal was struck under this sort of administration what do we really expect?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Hans, 29 Jul 2015 @ 6:56pm

    Bill 'em

    If the city (meaning de Blasio) had any stones, they'd send Verizon a bill the entire amount of the tax-breaks and subsidies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 1 Aug 2015 @ 9:25pm

      Re: Bill 'em

      This.

      If they got the tax breaks and subsidies in exchange for promising to do something and then simply didn't do it, then they owe NYC a refund.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.