Buffalo officials, residents want Verizon to change its FiOS course

Elected officials in the Buffalo region of New York have an uphill--some might say impossible--task if they expect Verizon (NYSE: VZ) to change its mind about adding new FiOS markets.

Nevertheless, Assemblyman Sean Ryan and State Sen. Timothy Kennedy want the service in Buffalo and other local communities and will host a meeting with community leaders and residents to discuss ways change the carrier's collective mind and move beyond deployments in small parts of North and South Buffalo, West Seneca, Tonawanda, Kenmore, Orchard Park, Lackawanna and Amherst.

About 176,000 households around Buffalo have access to FiOS as the company builds out its fiber networks.

Just having it that close is frustrating, Verizon spokesman John Bonomo told the Buffalo News, but "really, nothing's changed. I know a lot of communities have FiOS envy."

The story, meanwhile, did nothing to raise consumer hopes, quoting Verizon executives and Morningstar analyst Michael Hodel in justifying why Verizon won't be changing its mind anytime soon.

"Cable companies and wireless substitution continue to steal residential customers in large numbers, despite Verizon's network upgrade efforts," Hodel said in the story.

Verizon itself has said nothing is changing now or in the future. And that comes from the top.

"At this point I think we are happy with what we have," Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said last month. "I'm not going to build beyond (what) we have today."

All this, however, isn't dissuading the elected officials from pursuing a course of roiling public dissent.

"We're right smack in the middle of that process," Bonomo said.

Just not where the elected officials would like them to be.

For more:
- the Buffalo News has this story

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