With Verizon putting expansion of its FiOS high-speed Internet service on hold, it will not be offered in the near future in Ulster, Greene or Columbia counties and will not be expanded in Dutchess County beyond Poughkeepsie, Wappingers Falls and Fishkill, the telecommunications company says. Rather “we’re building deeper into those communities where we already have franchises,” said Verizon spokesman John Bonomo. “All franchises have what is called a buildout requirement,” Bonomo said. “We may have 50 percent of the town already built out with fiber. Well, the buildout requirement says that within five years, we need to build out the other 50 percent because the town isn’t going to say you can give FiOS to half of the town but the other half you can neglect.” The company is delaying FiOS expansion efforts as to tries to grow its current market share of 2.9 million television customers and 3.4 million DSL Internet customers, Bonomo said. Bonomo said information about when FiOS might be offered in communities that don’t currently have it cannot be announced at this point. “That would be providing guidance that we have not provided to Wall Street as of yet, so that is not something I would be able to comment on,” he said. “This project that we started six or seven years ago has been a $23 billion initiative for us,” Bonomo said. “That’s why I bring in the Wall Street reference — because when you spend that kind of money, and if we were going to do more, we would need to provide that kind of guidance to Wall Street. It’s almost the law that you need to do that.” Bonomo said residents in areas where FiOS is not available should equate seeing Verizon advertisements to those for auto dealerships. “We run those commercials in those areas or on those mediums that hit the most people,” he said. “Now granted, you are going to hit people who don’t have availability for it. It’s the same thing with a car commercial. … They can say buy a Chevy, but I don’t have a Chevy dealership within 50 miles of me.”
One could guess that if the rural broadband bills winding their way through Congress these days ever get passed Verizon will have no problem accepting public funds to finish this job and supply our area with their service.