Signaling that its six-year, $23 billion effort to convert its copper network lines to fiber is near completion, Verizon Communications confirmed late last week that it is no longer seeking new markets in which to deploy its FiOS fiber-optic TV and broadband Internet service. The disclosure in a letter to government franchising officials in the city of Alexandria, Virginia marks the end of FiOS network deployment by Verizon after making the service available to 70% of households in the company’s eastern U.S. local exchange service area. The decision will also leave several large cities, such as Baltimore and downtown Boston, without access to FiOS service. While Verizon has never promised to expand FiOS to every household served by Verizon’s legacy landline network, the company has rolled out FiOS service in 16 states and is on track to connect 18 million households by the end of this year. (By the end of 2009, Verizon had connected 15.4 million households to FiOS, which is the only high-speed service offered by any U.S. phone company to bring fiber optic lines beyond the curb and directly into subscriber homes.) Although FiOS has gained a competitive foothold against established cable and satellite TV providers in the markets where it is offered, sources indicate that growth in FiOS subscribership is slowing. Noting that Verizon will continue franchise negotiations with about a dozen localities and will continue to expand FiOS availability in existing markets, a Verizon spokesman said, “we’re fulfilling our original commitments.”