Philadelphia presses Verizon to expand FiOS footprint

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is facing increased pressure from government official in Philadelphia to expand the availability of its FiOS TV and FiOS Internet products, with the city council planning to hold a hearing focused on gauging how the telco may be able to expand the service to low-income neighborhoods.

"We were happy to have competition with our current major cable provider, Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA). But we want to make sure that every neighborhood in the city is getting built out with the FiOS, and not just neighborhoods that can afford to pay the fees," Philadelphia councilman Jim Kenney told CBS owned-and-operated station KYW-TV.

While Verizon has halted new construction and franchising efforts for its FiOS TV service, the company says it will adhere to the terms of its franchise agreement in the City of Brotherly Love, which calls for citywide coverage to be available by 2016. FiOS is currently available to about one-third of the homes in Philadelphia.

In addition to Comcast, which is headquartered in Philadelphia, Verizon competes with cable overbuilder RCN (Nasdaq: RCNI) in the city.

Verizon counted 4.8 million cable subscribers at the end of 2011, after picking up 194,000 new FiOS TV subscribers in the fourth quarter.

For more:
- KYW-TV has this story

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