UPDATE, 5/20, 2009: Seal Beach city engineer Michael Ho clarifies that the number he gave of completed FiOS construction is only related to certain neighborhoods. I’ve written a whole new post about it: “UPDATE: Verizon FiOS in one-third of Seal Beach.“
Welcome to The FiOS report. Readers area clamoring for alternatives to their current TV service and Verizon FiOS is one of two new services that offer this. But where can you find it? This is the first in an occasional series investigating exactly where FiOS TV is offered in Orange County cities.
Verizon’s FiOS TV service began targeting Seal Beach since late last fall (see “FiOS TV coming to Seal Beach“) and planned to reach 5,000 homes by the end of March.
But I’m still getting complaints from readers in certain neighborhoods that FiOS is MIA. Here’s the update:
According to Michael Ho, city engineer for the city of 25,000, Verizon has “pretty much installed FiOS in about 80 percent of the residential areas of town.” (CLARIFICATION on May 20: Ho meant 80 percent in certain neighborhoods. Read the update: “UPDATE: Verizon FiOS in one-third of Seal Beach.”
Key areas with FiOS are Old Seal Beach, Bridgeport and pretty much anywhere near Pacific Coast Highway.
The remaining portion that won’t be getting FiOS just yet is the neighborhood of College Park East, the area just north of Interstate 405 with about 1,700 homes; most of the Leisure World community (around 9,000 people); and, believes Ho, new tract homes and navy housing. (Click map image to enlarge)
That doesn’t sound like 80 percent to me… Why the FiOS snub?
Ho says it’s because the homes getting FiOS can do so without Verizon digging up any more streets. Cables hanging overhead on poles allow Verizon to string the fiber-optic lines straight to the home — no construction or right-of-way permit needed. College Park East, however, would require Verizon to dig up the streets to lay cables underground. That means the extra cost of repaving the roads must be paid by the telecom company.
Verizon still has approval to go into the rest of the city but the company has pulled back and did not give the city a new completion date, Ho said.
“We have Verizon trucks all over town fixing stuff. They’re still working on stuff in town, in Bridgeport. They just completed construction two days ago,” Ho said when I spoke to him last week.
Verizon says the reason for the delay is partly financial. But not because of costs, said FiOS spokesman Jon Davies. Rather, he said, Verizon needs to sign up more customers to make sure the investment pays off. After reaching 1 million homes in California in April, Verizon is now focusing on selling the service rather than rolling it out in Southern California. (See the earlier story, “Verizon’s FiOS TV rollout slows in So Cal.”)
Still, there could be some disconnect between Verizon and the city. Ho said he didn’t believe the FiOS service was yet active and no residents were actually using the service. Not true, according to Davies. The first residents started using the service in late 2008.
Readers, keep me updated about FiOS and the other cable alternative, AT&T U-verse, in Orange County. Send me an e-mail about what you’ve heard or whether you have it. I’m checking into all reports. Thanks!