N.Y. Town Balks at Verizon Construction

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Verizon Communications is illegally constructing cable systems without necessary franchise agreements, according to a petition submitted to the New York Public Service Commission on behalf of a downstate city and the state's cable association.

The town of Babylon, population 211,000, on New York's Long Island, is participating in the petition effort, joined by the Cable Television Association of New York and Cablevision Systems Corp.

Verizon is constructing a fiber-to-the-home network that may eventually deliver video content, but the company stressed that the only broadband service it currently offers is high-speed data, which needs no franchise, spokesman Cliff Lee said.

The opponents asserted that the telco's network upgrade includes installation of large metal lockers on telephone poles near ground level, which create a hazard for pedestrians and motorists. Verizon's facilities on poles also violate electrical and safety standards, according to the petition.

Lee said Verizon has been working with all of its host cities to ensure that it complies with local construction rules.

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