LAS VEGAS--Verizon Communications is looking toward big cities as the next big opportunity for its Fios broadband and TV service.
The company said Wednesday that it expects to get approval from the New York Public Service Commission to offer its Fios video service in New York City as early as next month.
"Our plan is to cover all of the 3.1 million households in all five boroughs in the next five to six years," Verizon's COO Denny Strigl said during a keynote speech at the NxtComm trade show here. "We will start this year as soon as we receive the approval of the New York Public Service Commission, which we expect will be next month."
Verizon is also working to get video franchise approval for the Fios TV service in other large cities such as Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., Strigl said at a press conference after his keynote.
Verizon sees cities as a huge opportunity for the Fios service, which provides high-speed Internet service, telephony, and cable TV service over a super-fast fiber connection. Because most customers in big cities such as New York City live in large apartment buildings, Verizon has had to adapt its installation process.
This proved to be a technical challenge for the company when it first started deploying Fios a couple of years ago. But the company has since started using bendable fiber optic cabling and has solved many of the issues associated with deploying the service in these buildings.
"Providing Fios in large cities is very important to us because the economics of multiple dwelling units is very good for us," Strigl said at the press conference. "When you think about it, the ability to pass a building that has 300 apartments is much easier than deploying service to an acre or half an acre for a single-family dwelling. So it's a very good growth opportunity for us."
Strigl also confirmed that the company is looking to expand its Fios service out of region on a limited basis. Specifically, he said the company will look to deploy Fios service in neighborhoods that are adjacent to its current footprint. The company has already begun deploying fiber in certain neighborhoods around Dallas, where AT&T also provides service.
But Strigl emphasized that this was not a wide-scale change in strategy to take the Fios service out of region.
"What we are doing on a limited basis is, where it's economical, we are offering the complete Fios solution in neighborhoods next to ones we already serve," Strigl said.
He explained that these neighborhoods can easily be served by existing Verizon central offices, which means the capital expenditure to move into the neighboring area is minimal. He wouldn't say where, other than the Dallas area, Verizon had considered doing this. But he didn't rule out extending service into some areas in California, such as around Los Angeles.
Strigl also announced Wednesday that Verizon has upgraded the speed of its Fios broadband service across its 16 state region. The highest-tier service will offer 50 megabit-per-second downloads and 20Mbps uploads. Verizon had offered this upper tier of service in only a handful of markets previously.
The company has also doubled the upload and download speeds of its lowest-tier Fios broadband service. The service will now offer 10Mbps downloads and 2Mbps uploads.