Farmingville - (WALK) More than 600 people crowded into Brookhaven Town Hall Saturday morning to decry Verizon's decision to withhold their FiOS fiber-optic television service from Long Island's largest town.
The two-hour rally featured remarks by Town of Brookhaven officials, members of the Suffolk County Legislature and members of the New York State Assembly representing districts within Brookhaven. They were joined by representatives of organized labor, community groups and by residents who simply want a choice of cable television providers.
Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine and recently-elected Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright coordinated the rally. Both said invitations were extended to Verizon company officials, who declined to attend.
Speakers from among organized labor, including from the Communications Workers of America, said a "build out" by Verizon's FiOs in Brookhaven would generate jobs and introduce competition for Cablevision, Inc. The result would be potentially lower prices, and better telephone, internet and video service for homes, schools and businesses in Brookhaven.
There is a precedent for overcoming Verizon's intransigence: the company bowed to popular demand and installed their Fios fiber-optic system in the Islip communities of Fire Island.
Despite invitations, verging on demands, Verizon is not seeking a franchise contract with Brookhaven. Communications and business authorities say possible reasons include concerns about return on investment for hooking up such a broad geographic region and Verizon's plans for expanding wireless service.