In a major reversal of local trends, Verizon will expand its wired, fiber-optic based FiOS service to Lavallette.
Verizon holds a statewide franchise permit enabling it to deploy service anywhere in New Jersey, meaning there is no obligation to reach a franchise agreement with the local municipal council. In exchange for the statewide permit, Verizon promised to launch the service in each county seat to ensure service is offered in all areas of the state, as well as the most densely-populated cities statewide to ensure it reaches large population centers. In Ocean County, Verizon never expanded the service beyond the county seat of Toms River except for a small portion of Brick Township and a few blocks in Seaside Heights.
For Lavallette, the service has been a much-coveted source of competition for Altice, which markets its Optimum suite of internet, video and phone service to some island towns and has drawn major complaints about both customer service and internet bandwidth and reliability. This ultimately led to a hearing before the state Board of Public Utilities, which has yet to take action on the matter. Lavallette, completely surrounded by two portions of Toms River, has had FiOS wiring running through some portions of the town for years, but service was never actually built out to residences and commercial properties. That is about to change, and Verizon will offer its “fiber to the home” wired connections in Lavallette alongside its forthcoming 5G wireless data, video and voice services.
Borough officials were not notified in advance about the launch of service. Instead, they found out after residents noticed employees of a telecommunications firm measuring distances and taking notes on local streets. The residents asked about what was going on, they were told Verizon FiOS was being installed in the neighborhood. That led Borough Administrator Robert Brice to reach out to the borough’s government liaison with Verizon, Jennifer Young, who advised that the company recently made a revision of their 2021 FiOS buildout plan within the past week or two to include Lavallette.
“FiOS is indeed coming,” Young wrote in a note to Brice. “The project is currently in the design phase and representatives from All State Sales Group are doing the preliminary service work in town.”
The actual installation of lines and related infrastructure will occur shortly.
“What they’re doing is measuring the cost for running all those fiber cables and seeing where they have to go,” Councilwoman Joanne Filippone said. “If you see people out there doing something, it’s legit.”
Mayor Walter LaCicero said borough officials were happy to hear the news, not only because of the welcome competition in the light of recent complaints, but because the wired infrastructure was proposed anyway for the rollout of the 5G service to what will eventually be 25 “small cell” nodes in town.
“If you’re running fiber optic up the block to your small cell, why would you not connect every single house and make extra money?” asked LaCicero. “I guess the light bulb finally went off – ‘if we have to wire everything anyway, why not make some extra money?'”