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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Verizon's fiber optic network nears completion in Riverdale

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Verizon Construction technicians install fiber optic cables and related equipment on Johnson Avenue and West 230th street as part of their citywide infrastructure work.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Michael Cahill, a Verizon worker, opens the fiber optic hub inside the basement of 3935 Blackstone Ave.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Verizon construction technicians at work.
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Verizon has missed a June 30 deadline to create a fiber optic infrastructure throughout the city, but the telecom giant says it has finished more than 90 percent of the work involved in bringing its bundle of cutting-edge Internet, TV and phone services known as FiOS to Riverdale.

John Bonomo, Verizon’s director of media relations, says the company has installed 13 miles of underground and aerial fiber optic cables here. He said the company cannot disclose the number of Riverdalians who have signed up for FiOS because that would help the competition. He also said he could not share a map of the network for the same reason.

But the 13 miles of “feeder” cables here mean that for almost every building in Riverdale, all that is needed to get FiOS are street-to-building wires known as “lateral” cables.

A number of Riverdalians interviewed for this article said they have been impatient to sign up for FiOS since Verizon entered a 2008 franchise agreement with the city to plant fiber optic cables throughout all five boroughs by the end of June. Many were dissatisfied with Internet and cable TV service from the neighborhood’s predominant provider, Cablevision, complaining of high costs and poor customer service.

“When is FiOS coming to Riverdale?” north Riverdale resident Susan Downes said in exasperation. “I just hate the fact that I have no choice here and Cablevision is sticking to it to you all the time.”

A staffer for Riverdale’s Councilman Andrew Cohen said his office has received some complaints that the FiOS roll-out has been slow and inconsistent. Daniel Johnson added that Mr. Cohen is working with Verizon to address such concerns, although he did not provide details.

Co-ops lead the way

People who live in the neighborhood’s co-ops appear to be among the first Riverdalians to be eligible for FiOS. Bob Furman, who is on the board of the co-op at 3935 Blackstone Ave., said his neighbors overwhelmingly welcomed Verizon’s offer to bring FiOS to the building.

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