State commission hears calls for greater FiOS access

Aug 6, 2015

A large crowd in the Central Library Downtown Wednesday night told the Public Service Commission the area needs high-speed internet connections and isn't getting them. Among those urging the PSC to take action are members of the Communications Workers of America, who are currently working for Verizon without a contract.

The need for broadband access drew a large crowd to the Central Library on Wednesday.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Some of the complaints revolved around Verizon's refusal to expand FiOS beyond a tiny slice of the city and some suburbs to provide high-speed connections.

Holland resident Mary Janice Keller says she can't get cable and even satellite and cell connections aren't very good in her rural area.

"When we become frustrated with the satellite connection, we use our cell phones to access the internet, when we could get a good signal," Keller said.

"That requires the use of data and that is mostly cost, depending on usage and now our cell phone bill began to rise. With three cell phones and approximately 15 gigabytes of data per month, we were spending $250."

PSC General Counsel Kimberly Harriman says there is a study underway, but the commission wants to know what the public thinks.

"It's really trying to take a look at where does New York stack up internally and where do we kind of stack up across the world. Because we all know we are in a global economy and we're competing. Telecommunications is a fundamental backbone for any successful competition in that environment," Harriman said.

Other speakers said service is so expensive many are priced out and their children can't do their school work, leaving them behind other kids with better service in other areas.