Verizon may not want to install its FiOS system in Buffalo but city residents and politicians want it. That was the consensus expressed Tuesday night meeting in the West Side Community Center.
It's an issue which has been bubbling along for years, the utility giant putting a toe into the telecommunications picture in the city while installing a real footprint in the suburbs. As many speakers noted last night, the company is doing the same in many Upstate cities.
In Buffalo, those who have FiOS can only use it for phone and internet while in the suburbs there is also cable TV.
The company was invited to the meeting last night but no one showed, at least openly.
"We know in today's environment, information in some ways is the most valuable resource for any business or for that matter individual," said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
"When Verizon is saying to us we're not going to give you the latest and greatest technology, but we are going to put it in other places in this country and we're going to ignore your community, they're saying we don't care if this stunts your economy. We don't care if this hurts your growth. We don't care if this hurts the job opportunity to the people in this community. I say that's wrong."
The company has said it can't make enough money quickly for investing in city service to be worthwhile.
An alliance of elected public officials and union leaders is continuing to push the issue, with talk of new regulations to force Verizon to offer the full FIOS service in the city.