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Verizon dispute settled as Hingham approves FiOS installation

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  April 3, 2012 07:14 AM

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Hingham officials have approved Verizon’s grant of location for fiber optic service on three streets, bringing a months-long dispute with the cable company to a close.

The multi-pronged dispute started in July of last year, after the company mistakenly installed two conduits in two different streets. In addition, the company damaged and allegedly only partially repaired a resident’s driveway during another FiOS installation.

The conduit installations for Kress Farm Road and Ringbolt Road were corrected and apologies made to the town late last year. However, the dispute over a resident’s driveway took longer to fix.

Officials said they would not approve any grants of locations until that issue was resolved. But as of Thursday, town officials said the driveway was repaired to the customer’s satisfaction, with half of the driveway replaced and with a new seal over the entirety.

Verizon initially only offered to fix from the damaged part of the driveway to the street. Meanwhile, the resident felt his newly installed driveway – less than three years old – should have been entirely replaced.

Although a compromise was eventually reached, the driveway difficulty, along with employee strikes, has meant that the grant of locations had to wait until late March for approval.

As such, on Thursay the town granted Verizon access to portions of Manatee Road, Volusia Road, and Newbridge Road to continue FiOS installation.

Despite moving forward, Hingham officials said they remained concerned about other aspects of Verizon’s business.

According to Selectman Bruce Rabuffo, the FiOS wires are placed 2-4 feet away from the existing electrical wires underground, an important measure to make sure that neither wire interferes with the other.

The problem arises when contractors or homeowners want to dig in their yard.

“We have a GPS system in our records so the DPW knows where all the wires and pipes are … but you’re relying on the contractor to go to the DPW and check where all the wires are,” Rabuffo said. “Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.

"What happens is developers’ insurance costs are rising because more stuff is being replaced or installed. And the homeowner pays for that.”

Rabuffo wanted to see some sort of policy decision from Verizon to help prevent mishaps, but said the discussion was too cumbersome to have on a Thursday evening.

As a result, the town will be organizing a get-together with the utility providers to see what can be done to prevent mishaps and confusion about wire location.

“We’ll have everybody sit back around the table and lay out a general policy on Verizon and the others with utilities the best way to deal with the subject,” Rabuffo said.

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