Update: This article has been updated to include a statement from Verizon.
New York City officials have accused Verizon of failing to meet a 2008 goal of delivering fiber-based television and broadband services to anyone who wants it.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a municipal audit found that more than 40,000 requests for service are currently pending and that around 75 percent of those have been outstanding for a year or longer.
As part of a franchise agreement with the city, Verizon was supposed to have fiber across all city residential spaces by 2014.
Verizon says it held up its end of the agreement but deployments stalled due to difficulties in gaining access from landlords, but the audit claims Verizon is causing delays by holding out for exclusive access to buildings, according to the report.
A counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio told the Journal that the city wants to work with Verizon to speed up deployment before taking actions such as lawsuits.
According to the report, the audit is coming about as Verizon nears the beginning of talks with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) union—which counts about 39,000 Verizon employees as members.
“First and foremost, it is important to note that it’s not a mere coincidence that the report is made public today, and labor negotiations with our largest union begin on Monday. It’s well known the union has ties to the city administration, and things like this are a familiar union tactic we have seen before,” Verizon spokesman John Bonomo said in a statement.
Bonomo said Verizon disagrees with several aspects of the audit report.
Verizon claims the audit report is based on erroneous factual conclusions and incorrect interpretations of the agreement, particular its conclusions on Verizon’s passing all of the households in the city with fiber-optic facilities.
“We indeed have met the requirement to install fiber optics through all five boroughs. Our $3.5 billion investment and the 15,000 miles of fiber we have built have given New Yorkers added choices and a robust set of advanced, reliable and resilient services. The challenge we have is gaining access to properties which of course would expand availability. We look forward to working with the City to seek solutions to this issue,” Bonomo said.
The CWA last week accused Verizon of abandoning copper line infrastructure. The union said Verizon isn’t making necessary repairs in parts of New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC., instead opting to drive customers toward wireless home phone service.