Verizon’s fiber-based Fios platform will finally extend into Boston following a commitment by the telco to invest more than $300 million over the next six years.
Verizon, which tangles with Comcast and RCN in Boston, said construction of the FTTP network will be completed on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis, starting this year in Dorchester, West Roxbury and the Dudley Square neighborhood of Roxbury, and follow with Hyde Park, Mattapan, and other areas of Roxbury and Jamaica Plain.
Verizon said Boston has also “agreed to provide an expedited permitting process to encourage this build.”
Sharing some similarities with Google Fiber’s “rally” process and use of “Fiberhoods,” , Verizon and Boston are also asking consumers to “vote” in order to bump them up higher on the priority list as the Fios expands across the city. Under that plan, Boston has been divided into four groups (A,B,C, and D), with each group divided into “Fiber Zones.”
Notably, the site dedicated to that process notes that there must be a “minimum level of interest in order to bring Fios” to specific Fiber Zones. Groups A and B will be targeted during the first couple years of the build, followed by C and D. Voting for Group A continues through July 3, 2016, while voting on Group B is set to close on September 4, 2016.
In an FAQ about the fiber project, Verizon said it expects to start building the network in Boston this summer, and launch services in select areas by "early 2017."
"We estimate the build throughout the city will take 5-6 years, as we complete one area and expand to others. This is a big project, but Fiber Zones allow for more rapid deployment," the telco said.
In addition to Fios residential services and “advanced business services,” Verizon said it has also committed to improving its 4G LTE network and a pledge to “usher in 5G.”
To assist on the mobile side, Boston will also take friction out of Verizon’s ability to attach wireless equipment to city street lights and utility poles.
The city also announced, as a next step, that it will begin the cable television licensing process that will help Verizon to launch Fios TV service in Boston.
Verizon and Boston will also work together on a way to bring new tech and services to low-income residents, kicked off by a $100,000 “Digital Equity” contribution to Boston that will be used for a new mobile hotspot lending program at the Boston Public Library. Also factored in is a “Smart Cities” trial focused on addressing traffic safety and congestion along the Massachusetts Avenue Vision Zero Priority Corridor.
“Boston is moving faster than our current infrastructure can support, and a modern fiber-optic communications platform will make us a next-level city,” Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement. “Additionally, it is a priority to ensure that every resident has expanded access to broadband and increasing competition is critical to reaching that goal. I thank Verizon for their investment in Boston and for partnering with the city to provide the foundation for future technology growth.”
“This transformation isn’t just about advanced new fiber-optic technology – it’s about the innovative services this platform will allow people to create and use, today and in the future,” added Verizon Wireline Network president Bob Mudge. “We are delivering the promise of the digital world to families, schools and medical facilities, businesses and entrepreneurs, while strengthening our neighborhoods and communities. We are a proud partner in building toward a brighter, shared future.”