|Verizon to Buffalo: Drop Dead!|
|Written by Dave Burstein|
|Tuesday, 03 May 2011 20:01|
Verizon FiOS is the best large network in the Western world, Ivan Seidenberg's enduring legacy. Ivan's decision to ccancel the last five million lines was a blow to the areas affected. In Buffalo, the second largest city in New York State, Mayor Byron Brown led a rally in front of the Verizon office demanding "Don't Bypass Buffalo: Verizon Build FiOS Now." Brian Meyer, Buffalo News via DSLR
Rust belt Buffalo was the 15th largest city in the U.S. in 1950, but population has declined and moved to the suburbs. There's a commercial downtown and generally low rise but dense housing throughout the city. There are 145,574 housing units at an average density of 3,584.4 per square mile (Wikipedia,) which means a comparatively inexpensive fiber build.
Verizon continues to maintain they are not redlining poor and black areas, but the data are highly suggestive. They've brought FiOS to many of the affluent suburbs of Buffalo, but to little of the 40% black city. They also have excluded the 63% black city of Baltimore and the 40% black and Latino Boston, while upgrading nearby suburbs. In New York City, mostly white Staten Island is nearly completely FiOS while poor and black neighborhoods lag behind.
Verizon is probably telling the truth that they did not choose to target FiOS at white areas. The actual record of Verizon - and AT&T - on issues of race is far better than most U.S. companies. But the criteria they did use, such as rate of business growth, had a clear effect. So did the decision in 2002 to stop investing in territories for sale. Verizon New England and the Verizon territories sold to Frontier had some of the lowest rates of DSL coverage in the developed world. That continues true in much of upper New York State, southern Virginia, and Pennsylvania, territories that Verizon is continuing to try to sell.
Verizon treats these areas the way the early Romans treated the Sabine women. http://bit.ly/kDBkhg