The city is suing Verizon for failing to finish its citywide Fios cable installation by 2014, as it allegedly promised in its franchise agreement.

Nearly 1 million of New York's 3.1 million households are currently without access to the fiber-optic-cable-reliant internet service. The agreement, struck in 2008 under then-mayor Michael Bloomberg, applied to Verizon's cable TV offerings, but the fiber cable installation also means boosted internet speeds. The agreement specified that the cable should "pass all households" in the city by the end of June, 2014.

"Verizon must face the consequences for breaking the trust of 8.5 million New Yorkers. Verizon promised that every household in the city would have access to its fiber-optic Fios service by 2014," Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. "It’s 2017 and we’re done waiting. No corporation—no matter how large or powerful—can break a promise to New Yorkers and get away with it."

Verizon argues that where the agreement says that the cable should "pass" a home, it means pass close enough that service can be set up in a reasonable period of time if a building owner provides access. Lack of access, the company says, is a large part of the problem. The city's suit argues that Verizon agreed to make service "available to all residential dwelling units in the city."

A Verizon spokesperson told reporters, "Mayor de Blasio should read our agreement with the city. Then he could clearly conclude—as others have before him—that we have lived up to our obligation 100 percent. We'd appreciate his support in getting access to buildings where landlords resist allowing us to build fiber to people’s homes."

Far from going out of its way to hook up buildings, the city claims that Verizon has been trying to get owners of large apartment buildings to agree to exclusive agreements that would block other cable providers, in violation of Federal Communications Commission rules. Verizon has told the city it wants help coming up with a "competitively-neutral letter" to landlords and is "yet to see even a draft" after "over a year." The city also alleges that Verizon has told would-be customers that Fios is not available in their area, despite the company's representations that it has already provided Fios service that area. The lawsuit states that over 40,000 service requests have been pending for more than a year.

The de Blasio administration started to formally object to Verizon's progress in 2015, when the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications published an audit faulting Verizon for allegedly failing to meet its obligations. In September 2016, the city put the telecommunications giant on notice that it was in default of the agreement and could be sued.

Verizon said in a letter to the city that it plans to spend another $1 billion over the next four years and to provide access to the remaining million households.