FiOS Is Still Here and Growing, Challenging Fact-Challenged Susan Crawford

by Mike Wendy on July 25, 2013

Susan Crawford has her facts wrong, as has been her habit of late.  Check out her latest assertions of “truth” from a recent Bloomberg opinion piece, in which she trots out the “facts” on Cable’s so-called high-speed “dominance” of the U.S. wired broadband market:

[European regulator] Kroes may not understand how thoroughly cable operators control American markets for wired data distribution these days, and how willing telephone companies are to cooperate by ceding the wired field to cable and retreating to their own profit-rich mobile wireless businesses.

She assumes instead that Europe will have “infrastructure-based competition,” a concept that has been fashionable in the U.S. for the past 10 years, even though it hasn’t materialized. We have assumed that telephone companies would compete with cable companies to provide high-speed data access, and that this competition would obviate the need for regulation. We have been wrong…

In March 2010, Verizon stopped expanding its FiOS fiber-optics services. As a result, Americans have switched to cable for wired Internet access in droves. Now the U.S. has a collection of regional cable monopolies that face neither competition nor oversight… (Emphasis added)

Really, Susan?

But looky here. On Tuesday, I took these pictures within my own zip code, in once rural, Mount Vernon, VA.  In them you’ll notice:

  • Verizon laying new FiOS facilities.
  • In doing so, it’s putting new facilities-based competition into service.
  • And, with the ad (at bottom, sent to me in this same zip code this Monday), you’ll see Verizon and Cox (a cable provider) going head-to-head, competing for high-speed customers.

According to Susan, this isn’t happening.




As these direct-marketing ads reveal, here’s Verizon going head-to-head for my high-speed dollars with cable-provider Cox (as well as Dish).

B-band competition3

I guess my camera must have malfunctioned?

John Randall July 29, 2013 at 2:54 pm

In 2010, Verizon announced to shareholders that it would not be expand FiOS beyond it’s current obligations. I’m not sure where you live, but Verizon had probably already obtained a franchise and agreed to build in your area and was obligated to build to you. FiOs is not expanding further.

Mike Wendy July 29, 2013 at 7:37 pm

John (as Susan’s ostensible Roosevelt Inst. proxy) – Susan (or you?) made no such equivocation in that piece. Moreover, it’s clear not only from the new FiOS, but also from the direct marketing ads, that the company is competing with a cable company (Cox) – something your article says isn’t happening here in America. Finally, the FCC’s broadband map for my zip code shows I have access to 8 broadband providers, many (perhaps the majority) are infrastructure / facilities-based providers that compete for various customers in my zip code – again, something the article surmises just isn’t happening. Are the pictures, the marketing and the competing providers / FCC wrong on this?

Tim August 13, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I will also add that in Maryland and Virginia the franchises are granted on a county by county basis. Most of the counties in these two states are quite large. Fairfax Co. Virginia has more population than a lot of major cities. So the fact that Verizon is “still” building out FIOS in Fairfax County means a lot of people are still waiting for the service. This is not like five people at the end of a particular subdivision don’t have FIOS yet.

I will also add that Crawford’s 18 million homes passed number in terms of FIOS is becoming quickly out of date. FIOS passes more than 19 million homes and is very shortly going to cross 20. In fact there are some estimates that Fios will eventually hit more like 23 or even 25 million homes.

Tim August 11, 2013 at 6:11 pm

There are a couple of issues Crawford should point but doesn’t.

1. Verizon is only the incumbent phone company in part of the country. Primarily MA, RI, NY, PA, MD, DE, DC, NJ and DC. It also services parts of Florida(Tampa), Texas(Dallas Suburbs), and California(Western Los Angeles and Malibu among others). In all of these service areas listed above Verizon has deployed FIOS to substantial portions of their customer base and continue to do so.

2. It is perhaps a legitimate questions why other incumbent phone companies such as AT&T, CenturyTel, Frontier, Windstream etc. have not deployed Fios like FTTH technologies to a much greater extent. However, this is a questions that should be directed towards their managements not the of Verizon. It is well documented that Verizon has deployed FTTH to a far far larger portion of their service territory than any other incumbent Telco including those with far smaller and far larger service territories.

3. Many of Verizon’s signed franchise agreements to date have buildout requirements that will extend into the next decade. Almost all in Virginia and Maryland run at the very least until 2016 with many to 2018 and one or two until 2021. Verizon has committed on numerous occasions to fulfill all of these agreements. Additionally expected population growth in places in VZ’s service territory such as Texas, Florida and Virginia should help to increase the number of homes connected to FIOS vis a vis expected population declines in non Verizon states such as Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan.

4. In Maryland and Virginia according to public construction schedules Verizon has continued to buildout the network even in places where they don’t have franchises such as St Mary’s County, Frederick, and Hagerstown. Additionally to fulfill buildout requirements some areas not under franchise will have to wired to serve places under franchise. Southern Arlington VA(under franchise scheduled to be built out pre 2016) are served through Alexandria, VA(no franchise). So Alexandria, VA will probably eventually get FIOS in a few years.

lt April 30, 2014 at 4:44 pm

FIOS is NOT in Frederick, MD – dated April, 2014. Only COMCAST. COMCAST has a monoply on Frederick becasue it is the only company and can charge whatever they wish. Frederick needs compitition….seriously.

MK March 24, 2015 at 7:55 pm

I moved up to the Ballenger Creek area in Frederick last November and Fios Internet and Home phone is available in my community (New Construction). Still no word on if or when t.v. will be available. They seem to be laying down cable all over the area but not sure if it is Verizon or not. If anyone has an update on the possibility of t.v. I would love to hear it. I signed up with Comcast and am regretting the decision.

gary masters May 10, 2014 at 12:59 am

Some Verizon trucks have been adding optical cable underground for months now. I asked if we would get FiOS and he said (only for local l homes) and I did not know if he meant Mill Island or just the new houses on Mill Island, but some will get it.

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