Council Formally Asks Fiorentini to Make Verizon Internet Pitch

Haverhill City Council President John A. Michitson.

Haverhill City President John A. Michitson.

Haverhill city councilors made a formal request of Mayor James J. Fiorentini to pursue a strategy to bring a “next generation fiber optic network” to the city, following an example recently achieved in Boston.

After a presentation by President John A. Michitson during Tuesday night’s meeting, the council unanimously approved a motion by Councilor Colin F. Lepage to ask Fiorentini, by letter, to form a delegation and strategy prior to making a pitch to Verizon officials. Michitson also said the city could build its own fiber network, but that would be a second choice.

City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett.

City Council Vice President Melinda E. Barrett.

“The municipal fiber—even though that requires a much bigger investment upfront by the city—there are also some real advantages in that, but that’s a big endeavor. The reason why I chose Verizon for the first cut, if you will, is because this is their territory and it’s just on the heels of their Boston partnership which was just announced last week,” Michitson said.

According to Michitson, a partnership agreement between Verizon and the city of Boston calls for investing in a six-year, $300 million project to bring a so-called next generation Fios network there for businesses, government and residents.

“This is what Marty Walsh basically did—when he took over as mayor in Boston, he started negotiating with Verizon back in 2014 and he got a lot of ‘no’s. They came up with a strategy. He enlisted Robert Kraft, who happened to have a business relationship with the Verizon CEO. It took two to three years but now they have a deal. My guess is it would be that difficult for us as well but I think it’s worth it,” Michitson said.

Council Vice President Melinda E. Barrett, who seconded the motion, pointed to a lack of competition in broadband services from current cable provider Comcast.


Haverhill City Councilor Michael S. McGonagle.

Haverhill City Councilor Michael S. McGonagle.

“We’re held hostage by one provider, at the moment. We owe it to our citizens, it’s one of the number one complaints I get from people as far as the service, the connection, it’s mediocre at best,” Barrett said. “And with a little competition maybe we could improve things for everybody as well as do something about pricing.”

Councilor Michael S. McGonagle, who noted he is a former Verizon employee, also suggested involving Comcast in the discussion in the event a proposal to Verizon proves unsuccessful.

“I think bringing Comcast to the table, with this interest the city really has to increase the speed limits and broadband and the width of their services, I think that can only be helpful. I don’t think Comcast has been a bad business partner, but I think there’s more to be had,” McGonagle said.

One thought on “Council Formally Asks Fiorentini to Make Verizon Internet Pitch

  1. I deal with TDS Telecom in Hillsboro NH for fibre. So far they have been fine. Vermont Tel is offering 1 gig internet up and down to it’s customers for cheap money. Maybe one of those companies would be willing to come in and build out some glass. The cake looks better after a bite has been taken out of it. If you have other companies that may be willing to come in and build out a glass netowrk, Verizon may move it up on the list. They certainly would not want to be one of three high speed internet providers. If someone else comes in, they will have effectively blown their chance for Haverhill. I wouldn’t limit yourself to Verizon. Keep in mind that Verizon has sold off a lot more of it’s markets than it has left. I’m not even sure they are the best choice. They could put in the glass then sell out to another company. After all, they did abandon Maine, NH, and Vermont and a lot of other states.