Do you have trouble with Comcast in Alexandria and wish you could switch? Do you wish for more competition in Alexandria for Cable TV? If you answered yes to either question or said yes to both, you may be waiting a little bit longer.
Verizon Communications notified Alexandria’s Mayor Euille Tuesday that Alexandria, Virginia was to be indefinitely shut out of receiving a FIOS franchise agreement as the company concentrates on areas that already have it installed so they can improve on it and increase their market share in those locations.
Bryant Switsky at the Washington Business Journal has the story:
The city of Alexandria has been indefinitely shut out of Verizon’s popular Fios television and Internet network, as the company has stopped expansion nationwide of the franchise agreements that allow it to install its fiber-optic network.
Alexandria is the only major local jurisdiction without a franchise agreement for Fios.
Alexandria Mayor William Euille learned of Verizon’s decision Tuesday and plans to discuss the matter and the city’s plans going forward at a City Council meeting Tuesday night.
“All our efforts working with Verizon for the past couple of years have been for naught,” he said in an interview, adding that the city has spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on the efforts.
New York-based Verizon Communications Inc. said it has enough franchise agreements with cities and counties in place to meet its deployment goals. It will now focus on installing its network and gaining market share within the areas where it already has agreements.
Fios is Verizon’s fiber-optic service, which uses pulses of light transmitted across cables made of glass fiber to offer Internet, cable television and phone service at speeds faster than those available on traditional networks. Franchise agreements allow Verizon to connect fiber directly to homes and businesses within a given jurisdiction.
The Alexandria City Council voted to give Verizon a telephone franchise in June, and then began negotiating for a Fios television franchise.
“It was our understanding that once the telephone franchise was signed that they would begin construction [on the fiber optic network] while negotiating the cable franchise to bring the full Fios service to the city,” said Rose Boyd, director of citizen assistance in Alexandria.
But Verizon put those negotiations on hold a few months later as it conducted an assessment, the city said.
After Euille inquired about when Fios could move forward in the city, Robert Woltz, Verizon’s president for Virginia, sent a response that was dated Feb. 18 but received by the city March 9, explaining that Verizon had enough agreements in place to meet its goals for national deployment. “As a result, we will not be able to add the city of Alexandria to our existing portfolio, and at this point, I do not know when that will change,” the letter read.
Euille said Alexandria citizens are “clamoring” for Fios and often don’t understand why it isn’t available. “I’m sure the citizens are just as disheartened by this outcome as I am,” he said, adding that the city will look at alternatives for fiber-optic cable and Internet providers.
Harry Mitchell, a Verizon spokesman, said the company was suspending Fios franchise expansion nationwide and declined to give an estimate for when it might resume expansion beyond its stated goal of offering Fios to 18 million homes by the end of 2010.
As of the end of last year, the company had Fios wired to more than 15 million homes, though not all of those homes are signed up for the service.
To view the City Council debate on the Verizon matter and their possible involvement in the Google Network test click this link (opens in a new window). Once the page loads, click on item 20 in the listbox in the lower left side of the screen.