Verizon loophole keeps high-speed Internet from poor N.J. residents, mayors say [telecom]

The Jersey Journal reported that tens of thousands of N.J. low-income households don't have access to high-speed internet because of a loophole in state law that Verizon is exploiting, the mayors of Jersey City and Newark allege.

The dispute stems from a loophole in Verizon's franchise agreement with New Jersey. That deal, made in 2006, gave the company full franchise rights to the state, which meant it wouldn't have to cut deals with individual municipalities. In exchange, Verizon agreed to make FiOS available to the state's 70 densest municipalities. But Verizon is able to avoid hooking up addresses where it says it can't gain access to the property, and, according to an internal document being distributed by Jersey City officials, sought waivers from state officials to avoid installing FiOS at more than 25,000 Jersey City addresses and over 20,000 Newark addresses.

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