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Brookhaven officials want FIOS expansion

Brookhaven officials plan to host a meeting Saturday to discuss Verizon's decision not to offer fiber-optic television and Internet service to town residents.

Town officials said they want Verizon to consider building FIOS in Brookhaven, because residents have expressed interest in buying the service.

Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said he would encourage Verizon to offer FIOS to town residents, but he added that town officials have no power to require the company to do so.

James Denn, a spokesman for the state Public Service Commission, said in a statement the agency "encourages telecommunication companies and municipalities to work together," but is not authorized to require Verizon to expand FIOS service. The decision to expand "is wholly the company's," he said.

Romaine said he and Councilwomen Valerie Cartright and Connie Kepert plan to attend the meeting, at 10 a.m. at Town Hall, 1 Independence Hill, Farmingville. The public is invited.

Verizon offers phone service in Brookhaven but has no plans to offer FIOS, company spokesman John J. Bonomo said. The company was not invited to take part in the town meeting, he said.

Bonomo said the company is required to complete fiber-optic "buildouts" in about 182 New York State communities where Verizon holds franchise contracts. Verizon does not have a franchise contract with Brookhaven and is not seeking one, he said.

"We have commitments to make to . . . towns and villages and cities throughout New York State, and that's where our commitment is," Bonomo said. "At the moment, our focus is on those areas where we have a franchise."

In a statement, Cartright said calls from constituents to her office indicate "there is a great deal of interest" in FIOS, and the town hall meeting would "aid in promoting healthy community dialogue" on the issue.

Michael Gendron, executive vice president of Communications Workers of America Local 1108, which represents about 800 Verizon workers, said the union could add "probably hundreds of jobs" if FIOS expanded into Brookhaven.


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