In its 2008 franchise agreement with the city, Verizon Communications agreed that by June 30, 2014 it would lay fiber-optic cables in all parts of all five boroughs. But in a shocking twist, Verizon has failed to fulfill its promise.

According to the franchise agreement, the network must "pass all households served by Franchisee’s wire centers within the Franchise Area [...] no later than June 30, 2014." The franchise area is citywide. To "pass" means to extend the network to the point where all households can be connected—not where they are. Once the main trunk "passes" a household, that household can request connection, which must be provided within a year.

At the time of its signing, Bloomberg's Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Lieber said that the agreement would "bring true cable television service competition in each in every home in all five boroughs of New York."

Verizon was of the same opinion. “Most New York residents see they have no alternative for video, and we hope to be the alternative,” said Monica Azare, a senior VP for the communications firm. “We are building it and hope they will come.”

But Verizon will miss the deadline by at least a few months. For that, they've blamed both Hurricane Sandy and, more recently, landlords denying Verizon entry to buildings.

Last spring, as public advocate, Bill de Blasio claimed that only 51% of households had access. Both Verizon and Bloomberg disputed his numbers. In October of 2013, Verizon put the number at 75%.

De Blasio has since promised to call New York's telecom companies to account. Late last month, he said, "We're going to reexamine our franchise agreements—including with Verizon FiOS and Time Warner Cable—to hold them accountable for providing the kind of service they're obligated to." He has not announced any specific plans.

Verizon acknowledges this, and is considering a new plan (one that the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications has so far been cool to.) "The challenges we've had over the last couple of years are because the process is inefficient, and we're focused on fixing that," said Chris Levendos, vice president of national operations at Verizon, in a recent interview with Crain's.

According to Crain's, "Mr. Levendos has developed a plan on which DoITT has not yet signed off, but which, he argues, would address the system's main flaws. He says FiOS' current approach to the market—assessing demand based on incoming requests and going after the biggest clusters—worked in the early days of cable TV, when people were grateful just to get service, but today, that method produces scattershot results."

Levandos said, "There's an opportunity to change the rules. We're not asking to change the mission."