By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech
The city has come to an agreement with Verizon that will require the company to expand its Fios broadband service to 500,000 New York City households, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday.
“We’ve had a digital divide, we’ve had a huge disparity in who gets access to internet and who doesn’t. Who gets reliable fast broadband service and who doesn’t,” said de Blasio. “But more and more we understand that we have to create a society in which everyone has equal access.”
The city sued the tech giant in 2017 for failing to make good on a promise in a 2008 franchise agreement to install citywide Fios cable wiring by 2014. The lawsuit charges that Verizon “defaulted on its obligations both to build out its network and to undertake the process for providing service where requested by potential subscribers. “
“This resolution could not be more timely,” said Corporation Counsel of the City of New York Jim Johnson. “ Most of us participating on this call got our news from a high-speed connection to the internet, we may have spoken to a family member in a video chat or even helped a family member get online for a meeting or class… That’s not been so easy for many New Yorkers.”
Under the agreement, Verizon must make connections available to at least 125,000 additional households in communities hardest hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the settlement requires Verizon to reach every NYCHA building in the city by April of 2023.
The city’s agreement also stipulates that Verizon release a report on how it is making progress on installation on a quarterly basis, officials said. The expansion will also hopefully lower the price of broadband services in neighborhoods with only one provider.
Here is the full list of communities that will see expanded services in the future:
- Bronx 2 (Hunts Point, Inwood)
- Bronx 5 (Fordham/Morris Heights, Mount Hope, University Heights)
- Brooklyn 16 (Brownsville, Ocean Hill)
- Bronx 7 (Bedford Park, Fordham, Jerome Park, Kingsbridge Heights, Norwood, University Heights)
- Manhattan 9 (Hamilton Heights, Manhattanville, Morningside Heights)
- Brooklyn 12 (Borough Park, Kensington, Ocean Parkway, Midwood)
- Manhattan 3 (Alphabet City, the East Village, the Lower East Side, Two Bridges, Chinatown)
- Brooklyn 9 (Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Wingate)
- Manhattan 12 (Inwood, Washington Heights)
- Brooklyn 4 (Bushwick)
- Queens 12 (South Jamaica)
This story first appeared on amny.com.