Mayor Marty Walsh Announces Partnership Between Boston, Verizon

The new deal will involve updating Boston's old infrastructure to a fiber optic platform.

Mayor Marty Walsh Photo by City of Boston

Photo by Olga Khvan

Mayor Marty Walsh has announced a new partnership with Verizon to provide better broadband access across the city. The deal will involve replacing its current copper-based infrastructure with the fiber optic network Verizon uses for its Fios network.

The new partnership involves a $300 million investment from Verizon, and comes with other perks, including a $100,000 “Digital Equity contribution.” The Boston Public Library will use it for a “mobile hotspot lending program.” In addition, the city will collaborate with Verizon on other projects related to technology, including improving traffic safety and analyzing bike traffic.

The first neighborhoods to get the new network will be in Dorchester, West Roxbury, and Dudley Square, followed by Hyde Park, Mattapan, and other parts of Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. The city also encourages residents and businesses to weigh in on which neighborhoods get the updates after that at on a website run by Verizon. Residents can expect to see Verizon’s Fios TV service offered across the city once the city completes a cable TV licensing process.

“Boston is moving faster than our current infrastructure can support, and a modern fiber-optic communications platform will make us a next level city,” said Mayor Walsh in a press release. “Additionally, it is a priority to ensure that every resident has expanded access to broadband and increasing competition is critical to reaching that goal. I thank Verizon for their investment in Boston and for partnering with the city to provide the foundation for future technology growth.”

The chosen neighborhoods seem likely to have been an important part of the deal—a 2011 effort by Verizon to expand in Somerville was met by resistance from Mayor Joe Curtatone, who expressed concerns that it would allow the company to cherry pick only neighborhoods with wealthier residents. In an odd coincidence, the press release points out that the first residential telephone line went from Boston to Somerville back in 1877. Perhaps a sign of things to come?