www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/towson/ph-tt-towson-fios-1128-20121120,0,7677657.story

baltimoresun.com

County lobbies Verizon to close missing fiber optic link in Towson

Section of southern Towson served by city facility lacks high speed service

By Jon Meoli, jmeoli@tribune.com

12:38 PM EST, November 27, 2012

Advertisement

County elected and community leaders are lobbying Verizon officials to wire the southernmost portion of Towson with the fiber optic lines needed to bring the communication company's high-speed Internet and high-definition television services to the neighborhoods.

Much of Baltimore County is already wired for FIOS, but a small portion of Towson just along the city-county line on either side of York Road is serviced by a wire center out of Baltimore City. The city has no service agreement with Verizon, and so that area is not served.

"Back when the county signed the agreement with Verizon, they fully expected the city to also sign the agreement very shortly," said Paul Hartman, who serves on the county's Telecommunications Advisory Panel, representing the 5th District, which includes Towson.

The Telecommunications Advisory Panel had an audience with Verizon manager Darian Gill at its Nov. 15 meeting. Hartman said at the meeting, he tried to "prod Verizon to put that higher up on the priority list."

Per the agreement with Baltimore County, installation of fiber optic lines to other portions of the county came in waves. The first portion, which included much of Towson, Cockeysville, Owings Mills and Reisterstown, among others areas, was completed in March 2012.

The next phase, which includes Hunt Valley, Randallstown and Pikesville, is scheduled for completion next March.

The next portion of the county, which includes the southernmost part of Towson, White Marsh, Perry Hall, Dundalk and Arbutus, does not need to be completed until March 2016, according to the agreement.

But Hartman and County Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson, hope to have the last portion of Towson wired before that deadline.

"There's no technical reason why they can't service it from the Baltimore City wire center," Hartman said. "They just have to run fiber out to the city line, then wire the neighborhoods out to Towson. It's just an attempt to … start seeing some action."

Marks said he has heard constituent complaints about the lack of FIOS service "off and on for two years."

Last week, the councilman wrote Gill a letter imploring him to wire the rest of Towson.

"Towson is the most densely populated part of Baltimore County, and quite frankly, it seems baffling to many residents why it is still not completely served by Verizon FIOS," Marks wrote. "While I understand you have many competing interests, I am asking you to please prioritize FIOS implementation in the area of Baltimore County served by Verizon's York Road wire center."